Despite no experience, he'll upkeep gear
Fri, Jun. 06, 2003
By Dave Davies & Bob Warner
Philadelphia Daily News
Milton Street, brother of the mayor, has a new enterprise to add to a colorful employment history: maintaining airport baggage handling equipment.
City airport officials have approved the award of a $1 million-plus contract maintaining baggage conveyers and carousels to Milton Street's company, Notlim Service Management.
Notlim, Milton spelled backwards, has no employees and no experience in the field.
"We have some volunteers who hope to be employees when we get the contract," Milton Street said in an interview yesterday in newly rented office space in Lester, just south of the airport.
Street's company will be a subcontractor to Philadelphia Airport Services, the firm that has the airport maintenance contract, and for which Street was a paid consultant when it won the contract in 2001.
Under the arrangement, more than a dozen employees, including mechanics and engineers will be transferred from PAS to Street's firm.
"We will be managing the same work force that's there performing the services, assuming the members of that work force want to work for this minority company," Street said.
An airport memorandum approving the transfer requires that PAS retain the administration, liability, and financial responsibility for providing the maintenance services.
Street insisted the arrangement doesn't make his company "a front, a pass-through," a description he said applies to most of the minority firms who get city work through the city's Minority Business Enterprise Council.
Street said he's worked for two years to put together a company to perform technical airport services, because he saw airports around the country looking for qualified minority firms.
"Because I'm a conceptualizer, I could see immediately that if I could form a company with the ability to perform these technical services, there may be a business opportunity there," Street said.
Street said he engaged two career military aviation experts as consultants in developing his business plan.
"There's potential here, and it's not limited to Philadelphia," Street said. He said he hasn't tried for work in other cities yet.
The exact amount of the Notlim contract is not yet determined. A company business plan obtained by the Daily News put the figure at about $1.2 million a year.
Notlim has a suite of offices that so far has furniture and phones but not computers or files.
Airport spokesman Mark Pesce said city Aviation Director Charles Isdell was unavailable yesterday, but that airport management thought the Street contract was "a great idea," since it would increase minority participation while keeping the same employees on the job.
The airport is run by the city Commerce Department but funded primarily by fees from user airlines.
Pesce, mayoral spokeswoman Barbara Grant and Milton Street all said his relationship to the mayor played no role in the contract.
"Somebody's always trying to say Milton had an unfair advantage," Milton Street said. "I worked my ass off. Nobody gave me anything."
Street has done city related business before, including operation of a food vending business. He still hasn't paid long overdue vending and storage fees to the Penn's Landing Corp., reported two years ago at $85,000.
"I don't have any money to pay him. I've got to build this business," Street said.
Court records also show the city Revenue Department filed a claim against Street last year for $8,878 covering unpaid business taxes from 1997 through 2001 and failure to file tax returns for 10 years.
And records show the Internal Revenue Service filed a $15,593 lien against him at the end of 2001 for personal income taxes from 1992 through 1999. The current status of the tax debts couldn't be determined yesterday.
Milton Street said he hoped the airport contract would be concluded and the transfers complete within 30 days.
Street served in the state Senate in the early 1980s and has operated a variety of food vending businesses over the years. After his brother became mayor, Milton Street worked as a lobbyist and made a brief attempt to develop a private animal control company to work for the city.
At 62, he is battling multiple sclerosis with a rigorous diet and exercise regimen. He said his venture into technical airport services is his full-time commitment.
"This is where I see the goose that laid the golden egg at the end of
the rainbow," he said with a laugh.
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