***UPDATED*** KAA to spend an additional $250,000 on litigation
KINGMAN – The Kingman Airport Authority Board of Directors approved Monday an additional $250,000 for co-counsel retainer fees in the appeal process in the lawsuit with City of Kingman for control of the airport and industrial park.
The fees will go toward retaining Phoenix-based law firm Fennemore Craig to assist with KAA’s appeal process in the lawsuit. The co-counsel was requested by KAA’s attorney, Andrew Federhar.
Vearl Haynes, president of the KAA board of directors, said he does not agree with those opposing the KAA in that the authority has not done well in its management of the facility.
Haynes said he believes KAA’s operation has created jobs within the community, including jobs that would not have been created if the direction of the airport and industrial park was subject to change with each new City Council election.
“Within the last three terms we have seen greatly differing philosophies that would have led to an incredible waste of money, noncompliance with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration),” Haynes said. “And just terrible problems within the basic core operation of both the airport and the future planning for the industrial park.”
Haynes said he believes KAA owes it to the City of Kingman to pursue the matter “to the end.” He added that he believes KAA is being “bullied out of the game.”
“I say that we’re meeting our responsibilities,” Haynes said. “I am sorry that this is expensive, but it is the oldest story in the book: We did not start it. All we have been doing is answering, and we will continue to answer, is my personal approach to this.”
He said that it is fine with him if KAA loses the litigation upon its conclusion, but believes the authority has a responsibility to Kingman to see it through.
“But until we lose, I am not going to walk away and turn this over just to see a bunch of jobs evaporate for no good reason other than people seeking popular approval,” Haynes said.
The public comment portion of Monday’s meeting saw one Kingman resident oppose KAA’s continued operation of the airport and industrial park, and another who spoke in the authority’s defense.
“I am addressing the issue of this committee attempting to further delay the lawsuit by trying to get now more outside counsel,” said J’Aime Morgaine, a Kingman resident. “The residents have made it clear that we no longer want this group of people to manage the airport. The City of Kingman has made it clear that they no longer want this group of people to manage the airport. I am asking you to please stop wasting taxpayer money.”
Morgaine requested KAA move forward with the lawsuit, have its day in court and accept the court’s findings.
Kingman resident Herberta Schroeder spoke in defense of KAA.
“What makes us think they (City of Kingman) can maintain the airport runways when we have seen what our roads are like?” Schroeder said. “What makes us think that the 9-plus miles of unpaved roads are an indication that they can take care of asphalt that is made specifically for landing the same amount of tonnage as a fully-loaded semi-truck on three wheels into a runway and keep it from busting apart?”
Schroeder continued by saying how the City does not have the know-how to deal with the airport’s undertakings.
Councilman Stuart Yocum attended the KAA meeting and said the vote went as expected.
“We will be civil, polite and professional about it, and we will leave it up to the court,” Yocum said.
Councilman Travis Lingenfelter, upon seeing the item on KAA’s agenda, weighed in last week on the additional appropriation of KAA funds toward litigation.
“I think it is a waste of airport funds that are obligated to be reinvested into our airport,” Lingenfelter said.
KINGMAN – The Kingman Airport Authority Board of Directors unanimously approved Monday an additional $250,000 for outside co-counsel retainer fees in the legal fight with the City of Kingman for the airport and industrial park.
“The additional counsel is at the request of our counsel (Andrew Federhar) regarding new actions to be taken in the ongoing case,” Bob Riley, director of economic development at KAA, said Friday.
The fees will go toward retaining Phoenix-based law firm Fennemore Craig to assist with KAA’s appeal process in the lawsuit.
“I think we have a responsibility to go through this whole path,” said Vearl Haynes, newly-elected president of the board of directors, about what he later called KAA’s “obligation to the City of Kingman.”
“I don’t agree with the people who are opposing us. I don’t agree with the people who say we haven’t managed this facility well,” he said. “However, I do understand where there can be legitimate differences of opinion on those types of things.”
Haynes added that he is concerned with the personal attacks regarding the issue.
“Once again, I can see ample room for personal dislike of people on either side of this, but to be setting public policy on the basis of that dislike is irresponsible …”