HOUSTON – The food fight at Hobby Airport continued on Friday morning with an emergency Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) hearing held in the 11th Civil Court inside of the Harris County Civil Courthouse.
Judge Kristen Hawkins heard from attorneys representing the Pappas Group, as well as attorneys for Areas and the City of Houston.
Areas is the Miami-based company that was awarded a lucrative concessions contract at Hobby Airport this past March.
Since the awarding that contract, the Pappas group has filed a lawsuit against Areas and the City of Houston, claiming that the procurement process was flawed.
In its quest for rapid discovery, an attorney for Pappas requested immediate depositions from multiple city officials including Houston Airports System Director Mario Diaz and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
In addition, the attorney claimed the city was harming Pappas by forcing them to leave items behind for Areas.
Judge Hawkins denied the TRO in a hearing that lasted less than thirty minutes.
“We refiled our TRO against the City of Houston and Areas Group yesterday. The TRO was unfortunately denied. Our legal team is focused on our next legal steps. Our team at Hobby is working extremely hard to close our restaurants properly,” said Chris Pappas in a statement.
Pappas goes on to add, “In addition to the City of Houston’s egregiously flawed procurement process, the city continues to work directly on behalf of Areas Group. The city, on behalf of Areas, is disputing kitchen equipment items that are commonly known in the industry to be easily removable. They are attempting to force us to leave those items for Areas’ use without any compensation. In contrast, we completed our agreement with the Latrelle’s Group on the sale of equipment without any conflict.”
The famed restaurant owner also went further regarding a questionable procurement process. Prior to the vote, KPRC 2 Investigates uncovered claims by Areas of having famed Houston chef Chris Shepherd as a part of their team even though Shepherd confirmed that he was not a part of the deal in any way.
“Failing to recognize the startling issues in the procurement process and the city’s continued forceful attempts to promote Area’s Group is a disservice to all Houstonians,” said Pappas.
Ironically, according to Pappas, it was just last week the Houston Airports System honored the Pappas group with several awards for its restaurants including those locations now being forced out of Hobby.