Fired Hartsfield-Jackson Designers Sue Atlanta For $60 Million

ATLANTA (AP) -- The designers of a planned international terminal at Atlanta's airport were fired from the project and promptly filed a $60 million lawsuit against the city.

In the lawsuit, the design team, led by the architectural firm Leo A Daly, claims Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport owes $10 million for unpaid work and at least $50 million for damaging their reputation.

Airport General Manager Ben DeCosta fired the team Monday, calling their plans ''over-designed'' and ''luxurious.'' He said they did not finish on time and that costs had soared at least $140 million above the initial $688 million budget.

But the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, claims the city-run airport acted in bad faith and with ''malice and fraud'' when it terminated the contract. Airport officials overseeing the project had been aware of growing costs - and kept adding to the project without wanting to pay for extras, the designers said.

''We put our hearts and souls into this terminal,'' said Jerry Voith, head of the design team. ''This is a great design. ... I can't tell you how disappointed I am.''

DeCosta said the airport will rebid the project. The new terminal, part of a larger expansion plan, was originally supposed to open next year but has been pushed back several times.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press