News / Edmonton

Katz Group puts pressure on potential Edmonton Northlands contractor

The Katz Group has told a food service provider it’s either us or them, when it comes to doing business with Northlands and Edmonton's new downtown arena.

In a letter written to city manager Simon Farbrother and obtained exclusively by Metro, Northlands president Richard Andersen said discussions with food service giant Aramark to supply the expo centre and other venues outside Rexall Place broke down over the conflict.

Andersen said Aramark told Northlands they were pursuing the contract for the new downtown arena, but that the Katz Group insisted on exclusivity.

“I have now been advised by Aramark that the Katz Group has stipulated to them that they will only be awarded the contract to provide services for the new arena if Aramark agrees that they will not provide services to the Northlands venues,” the letter states.

In the letter, Andersen said Northlands has no problem with companies supplying both facilities. He said he's concerned the Katz Group’s move is outside what should be done in a publicly-owned facility.

“I would expect that the position taken by the Katz Group violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the city’s procurement and fair dealing policies.”

Cathy Kiss, a spokesperson for Northlands, said they believe the city has room for two arenas playing on an even playing field.

“We are not willing to give up our business, we believe we can run the arena and we can run it well,” she said.

Coun. Tony Caterina said the Katz Group’s move is very disappointing and a further sign they want to drive Northlands out of business.

“This is just another example of how Northlands is being punished for not getting out of business, for not closing their tent and getting out of the entertainment business," he said.

Katz Group spokesperson Steve Hogle said they had no comment on the letter.

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