The TTC will ask a third party to review a new offer to lease newstand space in the subway system, chair Karen Stintz announced on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
The offer comes from International News following a controversial vote by the TTC board last week to approve an extension with current newsstand leaseholder Tobram Investments International Inc, which operates Gateway Newstands, without considering any other bids.
“I will be asking TTC staff to conduct a third-party review of the International News proposal against the Gateway proposal and to provide a briefing note to the Commissioners before the next meeting,” wrote Stintz in the letter to the board.
In the letter, which was also posted on her personal website, Stintz writes she will ask for feedback on the merits of the International News offer from “legal and real-estate experts” who will review the deal based on a variety of parameters.
Stintz writes in the letter she still supports the lease extension with Gateway but feels “strongly” a third party should review the new offer because staff advice on the leasing issue has been “inconsistent”.
A report from staff recommended the TTC issue a public tender for the lease but was rejected by the board.
The Gateway deal has been roundly criticized by critics including mayor Rob Ford lambasted it on his weekly radio show.
But according to Stintz the mayor has not contacted the TTC regarding the issue.
The TTC board is next scheduled to meet on Feb. 25.
In response, Gateway Newstands CEO Michael Aychental said in a press release that he welcomed the review of the new offer and re-iterated the soundness of his company’s relationship with the TTC, which goes back to 1994.