ORLANDO, Fla. - 9 Investigates has learned that problems with an Orlando International Airport contractor may have been bigger than first thought. In January, we reported that DVI Services Inc. worked in secure airport areas without proper licensing. Now, we've found the same company may have some big debts too.
Two and a half years ago, Tony Gonzales thought his Melbourne-based OT Trans Inc. was on the verge of making it big at the airport. He planned to take part in a nearly $4 million per year baggage handling contract.
"It was an opportunity I was looking forward to because business has been slow," said Gonzalez.
OT Trans teamed with the larger airport contractor, DVI Services, for the work. But from the start, Gonzalez says DVI asked for extra cash – first to pay insurance, then to make payroll. Soon enough, Gonzalez says, he'd invested big money he has never seen again.
"I'm out, looks like, half a million dollars," he said.
This is not DVI's first problem at the airport. In January, 9 Investigates discovered the company was doing screenings at employee and contractor entrance gates, right onto airport property, but did not have a state security license.
In a September letter to the company's president, James Witherspoon, the Airport Authority terminated all of Witherspoon's contracts. The Authority said that it had repeatedly worked with DVI to resolve numerous issues and could no longer afford the potential exposure created.
Now, Witherspoon is hard to find. We stopped by DVI's Melbourne office, which was locked tight. Witherspoon's personal home appeared abandoned, with mail piling up and a February court notice still stuck in the door.
Eventually, 9 Investigates got Witherspoon on the phone, and he refused to acknowledge that he even owed money.
Airport leaders told us there's little they can do to OT Trans. The company's relationship with DVI is limited by the contract each side signed.
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