JFK’s ARK animal transport facility sues NY/NJ Port Authority over contract breach

The owner of a US$65 million animal care and transport facility at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is suing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for $426 million over an alleged breach of the facility’s long-term commercial lease.

In a summons filed earlier this month in the Queens County office of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, the ARK’s lawyers allege that the Port Authority’s internal squabbling and turf wars between competing government agencies have inflicted millions of dollars in losses.

The Port Authority has not yet responded to an Air Cargo World request for comment.

Just one year after the facility opened to much fanfare, annual revenues are just $450,000, which the facility says are 90 percent below projections. Lawyers for the ARK say that the facility is in imminent danger of shutting down, “due to the massive operational losses caused by the Port Authority’s willful breaches of the lease.”

According to the lawsuit, the Port Authority has steered most animal traffic to another facility it owns in Newburgh, N.Y., that is leased to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Instead of directing animals arriving at JFK Airport to the ARK’s on-site facility, the ARK alleges that the Port Authority has, “enabled certain animals to be transported two hours away over public highways via non-bio-secure towed trailers – to a competing facility in Newburgh operated by the United States Department of Agriculture.”

While most filings are bogged down in legalese and squirreled away in the annals of some court system’s database, ARK Development LLC has posted a copy of the summons on the facility’s website, a move that quickly caught the attention of the local press. Furthermore, the ARK’s summons makes its argument in broad and accessible terms, alleging that the Port Authority’s alleged breach of contract poses “grave national security risks.”



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