City officials say they will appeal after a federal jury Monday awarded $17.5 million in damages to an Atlanta businessman who claimed the City of Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport illegally steered a lucrative indoor advertising contract to a competitor.

The verdict awards Billy Corey and his company, Corey Airport Services, $8.5 million in compensatory damages, to be paid in thirds by the city, Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. and businesswoman Barbara Fouch.

The jury also awarded Corey $9 million in punitive damages. Clear Channel was ordered to pay $8.5 million and Fouch $500,000.

Corey was upset in 2002 when the city awarded the contract to Clear Channel Airports of Georgia. Clear Channel’s minority partner was a friend of late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.

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