Judge says UCF was 'biased' toward Spectra in concessions contract


Pointing to bias in the selection process, an administrative law judge Tuesday called for the University of Central Florida to scrap a plan to award a 10-year contract for providing concessions at athletic facilities.

Judge John D.C. Newton, in a 53-page decision, sided with the firm Centerplate, which challenged a decision to award the contract to Spectra Food Services and Hospitality.

While Centerplate has had the concessions contract in the past, a Spectra firm has managed the university's CFE Arena. In his ruling, Newton pointed to the involvement of a Spectra official in the development of what is known as “invitation to negotiate” as the concessions contract came open. Also, he pointed to a tour that Spectra officials received of the facilities.

“Both university actions undermined the fairness of the ITN process and denied the university the benefits of fair competition for its contract. They were contrary to competition,” Newton wrote. “Furthermore, the preponderance of the evidence proves the university had a bias toward Spectra in the process.”

Under administrative law, Newton's ruling is a recommended order that will go back to the university for final action. He called for the university to reject all proposals for the contract.

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