LOS ANGELES: Beleaguered by unhappy passengers, new security
requirements, and a recent PR scandal, the Los Angeles Board of Airport
Commissioners last week approved a new communications RFP.
At the same meeting, council members rescinded the renewal of a $1.5 million one-year contract for Winner & Associates, a Southern
California firm that has won five contract renewals in the past three
years from the commission, according to Charles Winner, firm
The PR firm came under fire earlier this month when the Los Angeles
Times ran a story suggesting it was given the airport contract as a
payoff for supporting Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn with campaign
contributions and fundraisers. The story also questioned the almost
$9 million the firm has been paid, quoting one subcontractor as
feeling "guilty" for taking payment for performing minimal work.
Winner disputed the allegations as "ridiculous," pointing out that his
firm first began its airport work under previous Los Angeles Mayor
Richard Riordan. The agency was retained in 1998 to help educate the
public about a controversial airport expansion that was canceled under
the Hahn administration.
Mayor Hahn has publicly expressed his desire to see W&A bid for the new
contract. However, because of the controversy, W&A has removed itself
from the renewal process.
The RFP calls for expanded public relations assistance in four areas of
"safety and security," according to board minutes, but does not specify
See Tales from Tinseltown, p. 28.