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Airport Authority board, tenants remain at stalemate over leases

By Nancy Schaar
FPS Correspondent

Following another lengthy meeting, the Carroll County Airport Authority board still does not have signed leases with tenants.

A lease was presented for Lisa Stansbury, who runs the airport restaurant. Stansbury said she would sign the lease but only if every board member agreed with it. Board members Rick Carlton and Mike Stich were not in attendance. Board member Aaron Dodds questioned a phrase in the presented lease stating the tenant shall make alterations and improvements in a “workman like manner”. Dodds asked for that phrase to be defined.

Board Member Dave Fitzgerald said it was a “standard boiler plate” phrase and contract.

“Harry (Lisa’s husband) has already proved his workmanlike manner,” said Fitzgerald referring to Harry Stansbury, groundskeeper for the airport.

Member Ted Lairson said this was the first time he’d seen the proposed lease and wanted the matter tabled till the next meeting until he had a chance to review it. Lairson also questioned why the law firm that drew up the agreement wasn’t named on the document.

Fitzgerald said an attorney didn’t draw up the agreement. “It’s not rocket science. We put this together from an old lease and some of it came from Jennifer (Thomas),” said Fitzgerald referring to the attorney no longer employed by the board.

“Has this been checked for form and function by an attorney?” questioned Dodds.

“This was not done by an attorney. You guys are making more out of it. There is no hidden agenda. There is no conspiracy here,” said Fitzgerald.

“The last thing this board needs to do is enter into a lease without approval of form and function or without an attorney,” said Dodds.

Fitzgerald told Sonny Fitzsimmons, board president, he needs to meet with Lisa Stansbury and a notary and get this taken care of.

Lisa Stansbury again stated she would not sign the lease agreement unless all board members were in agreement with it.

The board moved on to discuss a lease proposed to Leon Lamp, who maintains an airplane mechanical repair business at the airport. Lamp told the board at first that he had no comment to make.

Fitzsimmons reported that he, Dodds, and Lairson met with Lamp in an attempt to work out a lease agreement but Lamp would not agree to anything suggested. Fitzgerald wanted Fitzsimmons to appoint a committee to sit down with Lamp again but Fitzgerald said all board members would be on the committee.

Lairson said Lamp will not speak with Fitzgerald, Al Jesky, or Fitzsimmons.

Lairson presented figures to show how important Lamp’s repair business is to the airport’s survival, saying if they run Lamp out of business, the airport has little chance to survive.

The figures show income for a year with Lamp’s rent at $12,000, the restaurant at $5,400, the hangars at $12,936 and the rampaport at $6,480 total $36,816. Total expenses for a year are at $21,816 leaving an income of $15,000 per year for the airport.

Without Lamp’s rent, income would be at $24,816 and the airport would only make $3,000 a year and could not survive. Alternative suggestions were made such as only renting Lamp part of one building to decrease his costs.

Lamp has a large balloon payment to make in October for insurance and needs to determine if he will be in business to make the payment necessary or not.

Lairson said the number one draw to the airport is Lamp’s repair. The second draw is the restaurant. “Those are the reasons people come to the Carroll County Airport,” he said.

Lairson continued, saying the Cadiz airport lost it’s mechanic and has been unable to find another one for a very long time and remains without one. “Good mechanics are few and very hard to find,” he noted.

“Mr. Lamp refuses to sign a lease of any kind. He’s got a hell of a reputation, but he’s a good mechanic,” said Fitzsimmons.

Lamp continued to decline to comment but finally responded and told board members they “flaunt their money and do nothing for him.”

“You guys are not good people. You guys are users. You should all pay your own fair share,” said Lamp.

Further heated words were exchanged between Lamp and Fitzsimmons and Lamp left the meeting.

Fitzgerald said the fueling station is absolutely, definitely making money every month, but not in January and February.

When Lairson questioned the numbers presented by Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald told Lairson he “just didn’t understand numbers.”

Dodds suggested the correct information be presented during the next board meeting. Fitzgerald felt it would take up too much time but Dodds said the meetings are long anyway. Fitzgerald agreed to present the monthly sales figures to the board next month.

Once again, the board’s consultant, Ben Brandstetter, was not in attendance but sent a report by email to Jesky.

Jesky said the report states Brandstetter sent draft plans for the runway perimeter fence project to the FAA on July 31, 2012. Brandstetter says he was told the FAA would review the plans in September of 2012 and that has never taken place.  This same information has been presented at the last three meetings.

Brandstetter’s report also said a company known as BCI opened dialogue with the FAA in regards to the use of mineral right royalties to pay for the construction of a terminal building.

Lairson objected to the statement saying a terminal building was in the long-range plans for the airport. Former board members have said for several years the terminal, after being built, would be converted into a new restaurant facility.

“This is like lying to the government. This is the same as admitting we’re going to commit fraud against the federal government. We don’t know if we even have mineral rights to consider using and he’s reporting to the FAA that’s what we’ll use to construct a new terminal,” said Lairson.

Fitzsimmons and Fitzgerald both said a new terminal was just a long-term wish list and no commitment has been made. 

While approving payment of bills, Lairson objected to a bill submitted by Brandstetter for $3,490 in fees prior to June 2014. Parts of the bill were for Brandstetter but included fees for the engineer, technicians, and others.

Fitzsimmons agreed it was not an itemized bill in his opinion and asked if Brandstetter was just picking figures out of the air.

Dodds complained because it appeared all Brandstetter did was use the information Dodds Googled from the Internet and turned in to the FAA.

Payment of the bill was not approved.

Throughout the meeting when tempers flared and disagreements were loudly voiced, Fitzgerald moved repeatedly to adjourn the meeting. No seconds were given for the motions to proceed.

Jesky told Fitzsimmons several times during the meeting to just adjourn because nothing was getting done.

Two seats are open on the Airport Authority. Carroll County Commissioners will name replacements at a later date. Anyone interested in serving on the board is asked to send an application or letters of intent to county commissioners. 

Members continue to argue about the number of members on the board, Jesky made a motion, with a second by Fitzgerald, to make the board a seven-member board instead of five members as outlined in the bylaws.

Jesky, Fitzsimmons, and Fitzgerald voted in favor of the motion with Lairson voting no. Dodds stated, “You can’t change something set by the Ohio Revised Code. The board does not have the authority to change the number of people on the board.”

Fitzgerald agreed with him.

No further action was taken. 

In other business the board:
- HEARD Fitzsimmons announce a roll call vote will be taken following every motion made at future meetings.

- LEARNED from Jesky a letter will be sent immediately to all hangar tenants notifying them everyone will be charged $65 per month for rent.

- AGREED professionals should be hired to make repairs to equipment instead of airport board authority members trying to make the repairs themselves.

- LEARNED a lightning strike last month caused damage to the fueling station. Repairs are being made.

- AGREED to have the porta jons serviced twice a month during summer months.

- RECEIVED a complaint about a former board member’s truck being parked in inappropriate places along or on the runway.


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