A New York City review commission has voted to approve an exclusive vending contract with beverage maker Snapple despite criticism from rival bidders and charges that the deal violated procurement laws.
The Franchise and Concession Review Committee voted 4-2 on Wednesday in favor of the deal, which gives Snapple the right to sell its drinks in all of the city's public buildings.
The contract – together with a deal involving vending machines in the city's public schools – is expected to generate up to $166 million for the city over five years.
Mayoral appointees cast the four votes in favor of the contract. The two opposing votes were cast by Comptroller William Thompson, who has been a vocal opponent of the agreement, and the borough presidents, who collectively had one vote.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement that he was pleased that the committee "recognized the tremendous benefits" of the deal.
Thompson has questioned the agreement in part because Octagon, a marketing company that helped broker the deal, also represents Cadbury-Schweppes, Snapple's parent company.
Rival beverage companies testified last week that they were not given a fair chance to compete for the contract, which followed a deal with the Department of Education (news - web sites).
Thompson, who has said he is conducting an audit of the agreement, could still refuse to register the contract when it is formally presented to him.
Source: The Associated Press