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July 21, 2024

Edgar County Airport – Revisiting the fraudulent grant application…

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 20, 2014


As with may of the items we get involved with, it sometimes takes months or even years to finally come around to the point of satisfactory resolution.

The Edgar County Airport is just another example of the time-consuming work the has not yet led to any closure on a number of issues. There are still items out there from almost two years ago making their way through the court system. Mainly, two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits against Mr. Jimmy Wells, former airport manager, and the County of Edgar (here, and here) One other FOIA suit against the airport has already seen its way through the court system (the county lost this FOIA suit). These first two are scheduled for hearing in the coming weeks and we are confident justice will finally be served on these lawsuits. Will it be at this hearing? Maybe not, but I believe Mr. Allen will prevail in the long run. One of the points at issue in the FOIA cases is the infamous CD that was there, then it wasn’t, then “the bank lost all the paperwork”, then Mr. Patrick told Mr. Allen “good luck finding anything” on the CD, then it changed to “there is no CD“…so now you know how these and former county board members operate – lie, lie again, lie about lying, deny everything, claim it never happened…you know, anything but telling the truth, because then people would know you lied. It is not every single one of them, but it is definitely the majority.

Just remember: The truth is out there, and it will be found. I know you’ve read this many times in these articles, but I feel compelled to leave this quote from Dr. Livingston Smith with you once again, because this is exactly what you will see in the near future: “[The media role is in] fostering a climate of public opinion which regards the corrupt, however rich and powerful they may be, with the contempt they deserve.”

Another issue still lingering out in the black hole known as “under investigation” is the Edgar County Airport Grant that was submitted for the stated purpose of more airplane tie-downs, moving the fuel farm, a new ten thousand gallon tank, and a credit card reader for fueling when the office is closed. This is an admirable project and a credit card reader is definitely needed.

The problem? The grant application was based on fraudulent information. In short, it was a complete lie. I think that maybe the only truth in the entire application was the name of the airport – that’s how bad it is. OK, maybe I exaggerated just a wee bit – but see for yourself.

We have received confirmation from a federal agency that there is indeed an ongoing investigation into the allegations of grant fraud at the airport. When words like “the investigation is still under way” and “investigations take time” are used, I am inclined to believe this person of credibility. He is right, these things take time – after all, the theft from our local mass transit district is still being investigated almost three years later.

Now for a quick recap of everything wrong with the grant application:

First, these articles (click here) will explain in great detail what I will touch on below.

– In November of 2013, we posted an article detailing what was wrong with the application and some of the “inaccurate” statements contained in it. mainly 1) the number of based aircraft reported on the application was more than double what was actually based in Edgar County, 2) the reported average sales of fuel were twice and three times what was actually sold, 3) and that their reported estimated new revenue was based off of those falsely reported historical sales numbers.

– In a second article posted last November, we talked about the fact they “misrepresented” the size of the current Jet-A fuel tank capacity. The airport claimed they currently had a one thousand gallon tank, but I drove out there and took pictures of what was actually in site – a ten thousand gallon tank. Mr. Bogue, at a later date confirmed through FOIA requests that well over 1000 gallons at a time had been delivered to the airport for years. He filed a criminal complaint with the Sheriff asking about the obvious theft of fuel deliveries since you can’t fit 7000 gallons in a 1000 gallon tank. The investigation revealed what I took a picture of – the existance of a fuel tank ten times larger than what was reported on the grant application.

– In our third article posted last November, we elaborated on the number of aircraft and what the FAA determines are “based aircraft”. Basically their definition is “operational and airworthy” and based at the airport for “the majority of the year”.  Again, false information on the grant application

– In December of 2013, we posted another article on the grant application. This time we talked about the apron tie-down areas and how increase apron space was justified using false numbers. Later we discovered that the statements about people on a “waiting list” for tie-down space were also a lie, because the answer to our request for anything resembling a waiting list came back with the statement “no records available”.

– In January of this year, I asked the county board to re-submit the application for the fuel farm grant so that the county receives the state/federal funding through a truthful grant application instead of through the lies they are currently receiving the funds under. We also published an article talking about the tail numbers of the aircraft the county said were based at the airport – and once again prove them wrong.

– In February of 2014, an article appeared in a local newspaper that appeared to verify the county board’s claims of “move along, nothing to see here“, which was not true then and is not true now. The comments made by Mr. Mlacnic, from IDOT, will surely be proven wrong when this thing finally grows some legs.

– Either Kirk Allen , myself, or Rob Bogue have continued this stance and reminded the board of this at almost every meeting for more than a year.

You might ask yourself “So what?” what does it matter if they fudged the number “a little bit” – LOL – This matters for various reasons, and I will give you two of them.

1.  It matters because it is a lie. This application and the complete contempt of the board towards anyone that dare speak the truth about it severely eroded the public trust.

2. It matters because the revenue from any revenue generating projects, like this fuel farm, …that revenue alone MUST be able to pay any loans incurred because of the project. With revenue projections based on falsified fuel sales numbers, it is highly unlikely such revenue would be enough to pay the loan off that the county took out for their percentage of the project.

All of this information, coupled with the statements recently made by a federal agency, it is becoming increasingly likely that someone may just stand up and say enough is enough, and take appropriate action against those that originally committed this alleged fraud and also those that have colluded for months on end to keep the fraud going. In the mean time, I guess we can do nothing more than wait, and keep reminding the board members that we still know and still care.


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