Transit operator sues South Lake Tahoe |

Transit operator sues South Lake Tahoe

The city of South Lake Tahoe is facing a civil suit from a former transit operator for nearly $1.9 million.

Area Transit Management filed a complaint against the City of South Lake Tahoe on June 4 for violation of due process, breach of contract and for money not received.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

“I have not seen the lawsuit. Certainly, litigation is the right of every American and courts are set up to resolve the issues,” City Manager David Jinkens said in an e-mail.

ATM attorney Andrea Miller, who filed the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment.

The City Council voted to terminate ATM’s contract for BlueGO bus routes in the city in December following an arbitration process between the transit operator and the city.

Arbitration began after city staff raised concerns in June 2008 about the safety and maintenance of buses under contract with ATM.

Those concerns included discovery that two of the city’s seven 35-foot buses were inoperable because they had parts removed to fix other BlueGO buses, according to information presented to the City Council.

The lawsuit notes that Judge Terrence Finney recommended in the arbitrator’s decision that the city not terminate the contract.

“For some substantial portion of the 23 years of the relationship between ATM and the city, the city failed in its affirmative duty to make a quarterly audit of its vehicles, the condition of which was the apparent justification for the city’s subsequent decision to terminate the contract,” according to the lawsuit.

ATM is seeking $133,512.67 plus interest in compensatory damages because the city allegedly only made partial payments to the company in August and September. ATM is also seeking $1.75 million in consequential damages. That’s how much Morris Transit Services, a co-plaintiff in the case, paid when it bought ATM in 2006, according to the lawsuit.

BlueGO Transit Administrator John Andoh could not be reached for comment.

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