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Lawsuit: Firm that ran ground operations for Sun Country blamed 'Minnesota work ethic' for failures

The CEO of the company also allegedly said Minnesota workers were drug users.

The CEO of a company whose short-lived contract with Sun Country led to flight delays and baggage disruptions at MSP Airport blamed the problems on the "Minnesota work ethic," and claimed local workers were "drug users."

That's according to a lawsuit filed by Sun Country in Minnesota District Court this week, as the Eagan-based airline seeks damages for the revenue it lost and the cost to its reputation after it contracted Canada-based Global Aviation Services Inc. to handle its ground operations at the Twin Cities airport.

If you recall, Sun Country announced in February 2018 it was cutting 350 jobs from its ground staff, and contracting out the positions to Global Aviation, which worked in a similar role for Sun Country at some airports in Florida.

Global took over ground ops on May 1, but Global served notice on its contract in late-June after its tenure was beset by problems, with lawsuit stating the company struggled with chronic understaffing that triggered "a wave of flight delays, lost baggage, and customer complaints."

When these concerns were brought to the attention of Global Aviation's CEO Carmel Borg, he allegedly pinned the blame – on two occasions – on the "Minnesota work ethic."

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On the second of these occasions, Borg also allegedly claimed during a phone call with Sun Country that Minnesota workers were "drug users."

The airline says that Borg misrepresented his company's ability to provide ground operation services for the airlines, claiming Sun Country were "fraudulently induced" to select Global for the contract.

The suit says:

"In 2018, Global and Mr. Borg fraudulently induced Sun Country to select Global from among many companies competing to become Sun Country’s sole ground handler at MSP. Global and Mr. Borg did so by representing that Global had the experience, staff, and capabilities to perform effectively all the ground-handling functions that Sun Country required. In reality, however, Global had no such experience, staff, or capabilities, and Mr. Borg knew it. The falsity ofGlobal and Mr. Borg’s representations was made clear when, as soon as the Agreement took effect. Global failed to marshal the staff necessary to perform the agreed-upon services and began breaching the Agreement on a regular basis."

The Star Tribune notes that between May and July, customer complaints about Sun Country were 6 times the number they were in previous years.

In a statement sent to KSTP, a lawyer representing Global Aviation said it is "confident in its position that it properly fulfilled the terms of the contract with Sun Country Airlines and that it also properly terminated the agreement upon the required 90 days notice."

"We are confident in our legal position and look forward to successfully defending, in court, the claims raised in this lawsuit," he added.

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