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Food Service Firm Files Lawsuit Against County Convention Authority

The food service company whose contract was recently terminated by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority has filed a defamation lawsuit, claiming the Authority damaged its reputation. Authority director Don Brown said Connecticut-based Centerplate has ties to John Raphael, the City Hall lobbyist at the heart of the Redflex bribery scandal. Brown says collusion was involved in the awarding of the contract two years ago, when Raphael was a member of the authority's board. Raphael was also being paid by Centerplate. These issues are under investigation by federal and state authorities, along with the company's payments to convention center manager Rodney Myers to help land the contract. Myers , a friend of Raphael, was fired by the Authority. Centerplate claims it was a victim of Raphael, and claims the Authority damaged the company's reputation in trying to protect its image. Centerplate is seeking unspecified damages and attorneys’ fees. Raphael paid for a trip four Columbus City Council members and two Authority members made to the 2014 Big Ten Championship, where they watched the football game from Centerplate's luxury suite. Brown was on the trip, along with Authority attorney Don Leach. Brown says he paid for the trip, and has declined comment on the lawsuit.  Rafael was convicted earlier this year of extortion in the Redflex case and is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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