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Tuesday, January 9, 2001

Ex-stadium flea
market boss
gets $295,000

By Pat Omandam

The state has agreed to pay Edward Medeiros, the former operator of the Aloha Stadium flea market, $295,000 to settle lawsuits stemming from his loss of the lucrative swap meet contract in September 1999.

Medeiros, owner of Aloha Flea Market Inc., operated the swap meet for 20 years until September 1999, when his three-year contract was not renewed. Medeiros believes his contract was terminated because he supported Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle in 1998.

The Stadium Authority, however, said politics had nothing to do with the decision. Consolidated Amusement Co. is now the vendor for the flea market.

Carl Varady, one of the attorneys who represented Medeiros, said today the settlement was agreed to in early December and it resolves three lawsuits.

The first is a federal court lawsuit that alleges Medeiros' First Amendment rights were violated because the authority retaliated against him for passing out Lingle bumper stickers.

The second, a state suit, alleges the authority violated the state Sunshine Law when it reviewed and terminated the flea market contract at a closed meeting. The final lawsuit, also in state court, alleges a breach of the contract between Aloha Flea Market and the authority.

Varady said Medeiros isn't thrilled about the settlement but he is willing to accept it. He said it remains uncertain whether Medeiros, who continues to work in private business, will bid on the next flea market contract when it expires.

In 1998, Medeiros paid the authority $3.8 million in rent for the exclusive right to collect all rental fees from vendors. The swap meet operates three times a week.

Under the new contract, the Stadium Authority collects most of the rent and pays Consolidated a percentage of the gross annual receipts or a minimum of $15,000 a month to run the swap meet.

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