NTelos Protest Dropped

The two bidding companies that had lodged protests against the new management contract for NTELOS Pavilion @ Harbor Center in Portsmouth, Va., have dropped their threats to sue the city.

With looming threats by Harbor Center Joint Venture and Compass Facility Management removed, the amphitheatre and its new manager, Integrated Management Group, can begin booking its 2006 concert season, executive director Ken MacDonald told Pollstar.

Booking at the 6,500-seat venue will be handled by Mike Jones of Virginia Beach’s More Music Group, MacDonald added. The two men – veterans of Cellar Door – also partner in IMG.

HCJV, the publicly owned shed’s former manager, and Iowa-based Compass Facility Management in December each accused the city of negotiating with only IMG. The language of the Request For Proposals required the city to hold talks with at least the top two candidates.

The companies also reportedly argued that since IMG was a new company it did not have the work experience required to get the contract.

Meanwhile, city purchaser John Grook defended the city’s decision, saying IMG was the clear favorite of the nine-person panel that chose the company. IMG was one of five businesses that bid to manage the $13 million amphitheatre.

“The selection process that the city conducted was long, careful, deliberate and fair,” City Attorney Tim Oksman told The Virginian-Pilot. “It resulted in the best company being selected. I’m gratified that the potential controversy is over.”

The president of second-place firm Compass wrote in a letter that the company had accepted Grook’s reasoning and would not be filing a suit, the Virginian-Pilot said.

Todd Fiorella, attorney for HCJV, said his company believed it had a case but would drop its protest as well.