Homer Harbour, Alaska. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
City sued over Icicle Seafood's unfair competitive advantage
Monday, April 30, 2012, 03:30 (GMT + 9)
The owner of the Auction Block has filed a lawsuit against the City of Homer and the port alleging over what he says is an unfair competitive advantage it gives to Icicle Seafoods. Kevin Hogan said the city cost him USD 682,114.
He was part of the Homer City Council suddenly resigning on 12 March, when he said he would be going into a lawsuit with the City of Homer.
While both the Auction Block and Icicle Seafoods are wholesale buyers of fish, the Auction Block processes some of its salmon, halibut, rockfish, crab and other seafood. Icicle purchases seafood from Homer docks, but sends has the products processed in Seward.
Hogan filed his complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) citing the unequal treatment violates federal maritime tariff laws and gives Icicle Seafoods an unfair business and profit advantage, Homer Tribune reports.
The complaint describes specific tariffs and fees required of Auction Block that are not the same or not applied to Icicle Seafoods. Hogan is claiming damages for USD 332,114 more than he paid to the city port than Icicle paid for the years 2009-12, and said the competitive disadvantage cost him USD 350,000 he could have used to buy more fish.
The complaint was filed on 29 March and was received by the city on 13 April. The city is now in a 20-day responding period.
According to the filing, in 2008, Hogan built a processing plant on a parcel leased from the City of Homer. While he was then ablen to generate tax revenue for the city and jobs, the city “refused and continues to refuse to consider any relief or incentives … while continuing to provide relief to the competitor, Icicle Seafoods.”
The filing explains that the City of Homer is currently engaged in a lease agreement with Icicle that does not charge the company full fees for use of the dock cranes, lease of space or of supplies like for ice tonnage, such that the city is in violation of the Shipping Act of 1984.
Icicle also is not paying sales tax, which resulted in a claim of being overcharged by USD 16,902. Wharfage fees also were unequal, according to the complaint.
By Natalia Real