The owner of a Toronto-based newsstand chain says he wrote the TTC in November expressing his interest in bidding on the contract to operate newsstands and kiosks in subway stations, but never heard back.

The TTC has been embroiled in controversy since a deal with Gateway Newsstands was extended for 10-years without a call being made for other offers.

The $50 million deal is now under review by a third-party along with an offer from International News, which was submitted after Mayor Rob Ford publically criticized the deal made with Gateway Newsstands on his radio show last Sunday.

The results of the review are expected before the TTC has its next meeting on Feb. 25.

“We wrote a letter to the head of development for the TTC (Domenic Garisto) saying that we were a serious applicant and he wrote us back asking who we were and what we wanted to do and we did [write him back],” New York News Café Ltd. President Don Vautour told CP24 Friday afternoon. “We didn’t hear back. We were ignored and the next thing we heard is that they had awarded the contract to Gateway Newstands.”

Gateway Newstands has been the sole operator of newsstands and kiosks in subway stations since 1994.

In recent days, TTC Chair Karen Stintz has defended extending the deal with the company, saying that it included a 67 per cent increase in revenue to the city and allowed the TTC to maintain a long-time partnership with a quality tenant.

On Friday, Vautour told CP24 that the TTC should never have extended the deal without putting the contract out for public tender and should start over.

“There is a third-party review now of the two companies. What if International News wins? Would I have to go through a third-party review as well? It can’t continue and continue,” he said. ““It needs to be fair for everyone and I think they should reopen it.”

The current deal with Gateway Newstands is set to expire in 2014.

“It still stinks to high heaven,” Coun. Doug Ford told CP24 Friday in reference to the contract extension. “This is taxpayer money. It’s not a private company.”

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