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Maynard Jackson’s family wins fight to keep Atlanta Airport vendor certification

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ CEO Doug Shipman and board chair Shirley Franklin, accept a $250,000 donation pledge from Jackmont Hospitality Inc.’s Brooke Jackson Edmond, Valerie Jackson and Dan Halpern.

Atlanta Restaurant Partners, owned by former Mayor Maynard Jackson’s widow, Valerie;  his daughter, Brooke Jackson Edmond; and Daniel Halpern, all community stalwarts, have been under fire this year regarding their certification as a disadvantaged minority business.

The Federal Aviation Administration  rules say if the owner is a woman or minority and your business makes, on average, less than $56 million a year, and your personal net worth is less than $1.3 million, then you can qualify as a disadvantaged business.

The state Department of Transportation certified Atlanta Restaurant Partners as disadvantaged. But, following a complaint, the FAA investigated and deemed they weren’t.

The FAA reasoned Halpern’s Native American status didn’t qualify him as a minority and he is the one that actually operates the company because Jackson and Edmond didn’t have badges, airport credentials.

The pair tells Atlanta’s FOX 5 News:

“It was an inaccurate accusation that I never visited the stores.  I don’t need a badge to visit the stores. If I’m traveling, I go by the store,” Jackson says.

“We only own two restaurants at the airport, we own 18 restaurants total. We’re very busy,” says Edmond.

A hearing was held on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 before the DOT and after reviewing evidence, the determination was made that they do qualify.