|Lebanon changes airport FBO|
|Friday, August 3, 2012|
By PATRICK HALL
Lebanon City Council passed an ordinance on second reading Thursday morning to issue a 60-day notice of intent to breach an agreement current Fixed Base Operator of the Lebanon Municipal Airport, RediAir LLC, and to authorize a new FBO during that time as a result of civil levies placed on RediAir’s bank accounts.
City Attorney Andy Wright said the action came during a special called council meeting Wednesday morning, following RediAir treasurer Macon Dew pleading guilty in federal court last week for filing false tax returns.
“The bank where RediAir’s operating and maintenance accounts are located had informed them that a civil levy had been placed on both accounts and that nothing was going in or coming out of the accounts,” Wright said in an email to The Wilson Post on Thursday.
Wright said there was a 21-day hold placed on the accounts, which made RediAir incapable of meeting payroll this week, make an insurance payment, pay for fuel that had been delivered or order supplies.The levies placed on RediAir’s bank accounts were reportedly not as a result of Dew’s criminal case, and Wright said if they had been, the levies could have been removed following Dew’s guilty plea.
“I was told the levies had nothing to do with the criminal case and that the levies must be from some civil action against RediAir,” Wright said.
RediAir was approved as the airport’s FBO in 2008. Wright indicated Sonny Belew owns 51 percent of the company and Heather and Kerry Bay were minority partners. Heather Bay oversees the airport’s day-to-day operations.
“The account levies basically rendered the city’s FBO incapable of operating. This breaches several provisions in RediAir’s agreement with the city, that gives the city legal right to breach the agreement upon 60 day’s notice,” Wright explained.
However, the airport will continue to be operated by the same personnel, and Bay will continue to oversee operations. Wright said the Bays formed Direct Flight Solutions, LLC in 2010 as a precaution in the event something happened to RediAir.
Direct Flight Solutions was authorized through the ordinance to act as temporary FBO, pending the 60-day notice. Wright said due to state and federal funding the airport receives, they could not shut the airport down. He also noted no one with the city was qualified to run its daily operation.
“By doing this, there are no personnel or management changes and everything still goes on like nothing has occurred,” Wright said.
He also noted the ordinance authorized a payment to DFS that would allow them to meet payroll for this week.