He bid the first time the city opened after renovation, and was selected from a few operators, but lease negotiations fell through. City spokeswoman Tara Finnigan said the parties were unable to compromise on the terms of the lease.
Like Newport, other governments have had trouble signing tenants to fill their beachside concessions stands during the down economy, said Evelyn Tseng, the city's revenue manager.
"Nobody can command the same rents that they used to be able to command," she said.
Kilmer said he operated at Big Corona between 1970 and 2005, and started working there as a teenager picking up trash in 1959.