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April 12, 2024

More Damning Evidence Surfaces in the Hiring of Edgar County Airport Manager –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 11, 2015


In what has turned out to be a continuing struggle for Truth and accountability at the Edgar County Airport,  we have recently uncovered more evidence that the current airport manager, Jerry Griffin, deceived the public and the county on his job application, and by that deceit has cheated a well qualified candidate out of a job.

We have previously covered his false statements in reference to his pilot’s license and instructor qualification – and the fact that his medical exam, a requirement to fly and instruct, had been expired for more than 16 years (here), and the fact that he did not possess an A & P Certification which is required when performing maintenance and inspections on aircraft as he expressed on his application.

This particular article lays out the fact that Jerry Griffin has never worked for the Aviator Flight School, has never given flight instructions for them, has never performed 100 hour inspections for aircraft at the service center (nor had anyone “sign off” on what he performed), and lied about all of it on his application – cheating another qualified person out of a job! (job application here)


I hereby affirm that the information provided on this application (and accompanying resume, if any) is true and complete. I understand that any false or misleading representations or omissions on the application or during the hiring process may disqualify me from further consideration for employment and may result in discharge even if discovered at a later date.

Yes, he signed it – twice. There is absolutely no reason Jerry Griffin should work one more minute for the County of Edgar. He cheated another qualified applicant out of a job…he stole the job for personal gain.


The original article on his job application where we proved his medical expired over 16 years ago and he could not legally fly or give flight instruction with an expired medical. He can give instrument instruction and fly with another pilot in command – but he did not reveal that on his application.

He also stated on his application that he performed 100 hour inspections on aircraft – that is not legally possible since he does not have an A&P Certification that is required by the FAA for maintenance and inspection of aircraft.


Additionally, during the interview process, the Board allowed people in the interview room that were neither appointed to a board, elected to a board, nor were they employees of the county – but somehow they were allowed to attend the interviews and ask questions of the two candidates. The majority of the questions asked during the interview had nothing to do with the job applied for. Incidentally, the other candidate is a retired (active duty) Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO-3) that was a helicopter test pilot and currently possesses a pilot’s license (eligible for certification). He spent over 20 years in the Army and attended all kinds of leadership and management schools that could have been effectively used by Edgar County at this airport – but this County Board would have nothing of the sort!


Then you add to that the secretive aircraft crash that occurred this past summer, it went unreported, and we believe Jerry Griffin was giving flight lessons or was otherwise piloting the aircraft. He claimed it happened before he was the manager, but according to fuel purchases it happened after he was the manager. Nobody will say anything about the crash, nobody knows what day it happened,  and nobody knows how the totaled aircraft got from the runway into the t-hangar. The excuses keep changing, one excuse was that a deer ran out on the runway causing the pilot to steer to avoid it – BUT when at an IDOT meeting (sometime after the crash) in Springfield (Rob Bogue and I attended also) the IDOT engineer mentioned money available for deer and other animal deterrence, and Jerry Griffin told him we have never had a problem with deer, so we don’t need that money.

Most recent crash articles where we believe, but cannot prove yet, that Jerry Griffin was either flying or teaching the plane owner’s daughter to fly:

Another “coincidence” is that one of Jerry Griffin’s references listed on his job application is none other than the owner of the now-crashed plane – Jerry Newlin.


NOW we get to the other parts of his job application. Specifically where he wrote down his past employment:

Mr. Griffin also indicated a 5 year history as a mechanic at the Aviator Flight School in Fort Pierce, Florida: from 2005 to 2010. Then Jerry went on to say he worked for the Aircraft Service Center of Fort Pierce Florida wherein he performed as an Airframe and Power Plant mechanic providing 100 hour inspections on their flight school aircraft from 2007 to 2010.

Nether statement is true or correct. According to documents received this past week from Mr. Chris Speer, Director of Maintenance at the Aviator Flight School: Jerry Griffin was never employed by the Aviator flight school of Fort Pierce Florida. If you choose to investigate further, you will find this school is well established, very professional, and with an impeccable reputation.

Additional information was also received in this past week from Hassan Ghaffari, the owner of the Aircraft Service Center (his business has closed). In discussions and subsequent correspondence, Mr. Ghaffari made it crystal clear that Jerry Griffin’s responsibilities were to wash aircraft, to sweep floors, and that he occasionally assisted in the removal of cumbersome aircraft engine cowlings and inspection covers (a job requiring more than one person). He did not perform any Airframe or Power plant (or A and P maintenance) and that Mr. Ghaffari, the owner of the business did not sign off on any A and P worked performed by Jerry Griffin. In other words, Jerry Griffin was not an A and P apprentice mechanic in training when working for the Aircraft Service Center; he did not perform A and P work for the Aircraft Service Center on school aircraft and the statements he made in his job application to Edgar County and all others regarding the same are all false.  

The damning emails are below:


Subject: Re: Aviation and flying 954-684-4044
From: hghaffari13@xxxxxxxxx
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:41:21 -0500
To: [email protected]

Hello Rob as I had mentioned to you several times during the phone call Jerry is not an AP and has only been our helper cleaner washing ac and moping floor and he would help remove panels and cowling when needed , to my knowledge he did not do any flight instruction while he worked with us and I have my Pilots license and I took Jerry up for 1 or 2 local flights , best of luck to you



Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2015 10:24:04 -0500
Subject: Re: PRG Jerry Griffin
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]

Yes and I have reviewed our employee files and he never worked for us. He did work with Aircraft Service Center. They would preform some 100hr inspections for us on a needed bases.

On Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 10:23 PM, Rob Bogue wrote:

Did you happen to recieve a copy of an e-mail that I sent to Hassan Gaffari this morning regarding Jerry Griffin? If so please let me know. Thanks, Rob

Christopher Speer

Director of Maintenance

Aviator College, Fort Pierce, Florida


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  • Rory Steidl
    Posted at 10:27h, 11 March

    The email leaves questions, but gets the point across. If this damning evidence is true, my question is – who in the hec did the background and recommended him, and who reviewed and approved the recommendation? Where are the checks and balances? Again, if this damning evidence is true, has he signed any FAA or any other official documents since taking the position, which would falsely state his credentials? If so, I see more than a termination looming in his future. If he is what you say he is, Edgar County in now on notice and on the hook for the liability of anything that goes wrong under his watch. Where is the State’s Attorney on this matter? He IS the county’s attorney, correct?

  • Chris M. Gaines
    Posted at 11:37h, 11 March

    Wow! Great story, I’m impressed and inspired as usual, thank you. Obviously this guy is a fraud and should be investigated, fired and replaced with the other more qualified original candidate for this job. Keep up the good work!

  • Al Schneider
    Posted at 13:38h, 11 March

    I attended the Edgar County board meeting this AM 3/11/2015 and all of the above was presented to the board. This is a very interesting group of facts about Jerry Griffin, the now manager at the Edgar County Airport. I have not personally seen his resume but I would suspect that about the only item on his resume that he might possibly have answered correctly would be his age??? At the close of the meeting the board went to closed session to discuss, along with other items, personnel. If at this moment Mr. Griffin is still employed by the airport I would find this totally unbelievable. I attended the Edgar County Airport Advisory board meeting Monday night 3/9/2015. It had to be postponed because they did not have a quorum.
    We were visiting in the office for a bit before leaving and I was leaning on the counter staring at a sign that stated “All pilots please register”. I have been a pilot for MANY years and have visited MANY airports. Most airports have a register and If there was a register, I always registered. The registers are interesting to me because you put down the type of plane you are flying. This register had a Stearman. I have several hours in a Stearman so this brings back memories. There were thirteen pilots registered and I thought that there were more pilots registered for about half a month than I thought there might be—— this was till I noticed the dates. The first listing was August 2, 2014, again unbelievable! Thirteen pilots stopped in in the past 7 1/2 months. A beautiful airport, 3 employees, seven or so airplanes stored, no pilots qualified to legally give any type of service—- something is horribly wrong here!!

  • Bill G
    Posted at 14:44h, 11 March

    Great work. The Board should convene special session and terminate him immediately and take any steps needed to preserve taxpayer resources so the are no longer improperly wasted on him. I hope they check with legal counsel to see if a lawsuit could be useful.

  • Sick of it all.......
    Posted at 15:47h, 11 March

    Front page of tomorrow’s Beacon News should read that the Airport manager has been terminated…….. We’ll see if that comes to pass.

  • Rory Steidl
    Posted at 21:28h, 11 March

    Of course the retired Chief Warrant Officer – with training, discipline and leadership skills, not to mention a pilot’s license – was not hired. He undoubtedly would do the right thing, would not be intimidated, and could not be manipulated to hold the hands of those who typically oversee such skullduggery at the airport. Now, after this unfolds, perhaps the CWO should file suit? This story is getting more interesting. Let’s look at other relationships with the manager. Who would be in a position to benefit besides, the possible crash pilot you mentioned?

    • Chris M. Gaines
      Posted at 01:36h, 12 March

      Hi Rory, I agree with your choice of words…”skulldruggery” in particular. Don’t see that said or written much in my experience in life so far. Interesting choice of a word to use here from you.

      You should ask your State Trooper ex-co worker buddies to investigate this guy, obviously. Why not get more involved, than just commenting here, seriously? You’re in a position now being a highly decorated and very well respected retired Illinois State Police Master Sergeant to sound the alarm bells and someone will listen to you, right Rory? Sounds like there could easily be a criminal investigation initiated by the Illinois State Police Zone 5 Investigators, because we both know our local law enforcement agencies (most, but not all city police departments, and Sheriff Departments statewide) “protect and serve” the “Good Ol’ Boy” networks of their friends and family and secret society members ONLY, not investigate ALL criminal activity fairly and properly like their supposed to do for ALL of us, We the People, right Rory? You should make a few calls Rory, get MORE involved, please. Why not? Just asking, respectfully. Your one of the few “good guys” who was in law enforcement I respect in my experience in life with you in recent history concerning my problems you helped me with. Thanks again Rory! Consider getting more involved in situations like this. Please. Have a nice day my brother.

      • Chris M. Gaines
        Posted at 01:27h, 13 March

        Correction: * Skullduggery….not SkulldRuggery.

  • Rick Weber
    Posted at 09:04h, 12 March

    On the surface it would certainly seem that the motivation for hiring Mr. Griffin was not in obtaining the most qualified person for the job. The red flags that have gone up since his hiring are inexcusable.

    Let’s begin, when you have what would appear to be two seemingly well qualified applicants for the same position. Wouldn’t you appoint someone to follow up with the stated references and work history on their application’s and resume’s? That would seem to be prudent since the position being filled is responsible for people’s lives. I mean it would sure seem reasonable to expect that at the very least so a responsible decision can be made for the best qualified person.

    Then you have the fact that there are at least two aircraft incidents (ie: crashes) at the airport during Mr Griffin’s short tenure. Thank God these two have not resulted in any loss of life. And yet the employer does nothing to verify qualifications? Interesting to say the least. Well Edgar County airport your certainly on notice now. It would seem that the risk of having this person in charge of our airport puts all of us at risk. I am sure the insurance carrier issued coverages to you based on some small part on the persons qualifications which you represented to them to be in charge of airport operations. Do you think they will cover you from this point forward in the event of a loss? It is irresponsible for the board to put the county at risk over this.

    As for you Mr. Griffin. Sir, you lied, you can spin it any way you want. The end result is the same. You should resign. Or your employer should dismiss you immediately if you do not. Of course this is just my humble opinion based on the facts provided.

  • Robert O. Bogue
    Posted at 22:45h, 12 March

    It is my understanding there were two applicants applying for the airport manager’s position. Jerry was one of them. The other was the veteran that had distinguished himself in the United States Army as a helicopter test pilot and ultimately retired from the Army as a Warrant Officer 3. That is/was no small accomplishment. I believe, He currently manages several employees and a department at a large hardware/lumber store in Terre Haute, Indiana.

    There is no question but what Jerry fabricated, slanted, deceived and misled Edgar County in presenting his credentials. All of which are reasons for an immediate dismissal. You must however, keep in mind the county board went along with it and they are unlikely to dismiss him for reasons stated below.
    You may choose to believe the county board didn’t know that Jerry’s credentials and statements were false, that they choose to take everything he said at face value and simply did not check out anything he submitted in his application. You may also choose to believe the county board was unable to hear those speaking out against Jerry’s performance, past, and all of the “inaccuracies” found in his documents month after month. All of that could be true, but there may be more to it than that.

    The warrant officer and the honorably discharged veteran: responded to the airport managers opening with honest and verifiable submittals and he did not lie. So why is it that, Jerry Griffin, an Indiana resident with flawed credentials, is so much the favored son over our Illinois veteran and why didn’t they hire this warrant officer and why didn’t the county board fix this long ago?

    Part of the answer may be in the history of “Chris and Jimmy’s Airport”; a nick name given to the Edgar County Airport back then. It is my understanding, the warrant officer and Chris Patrick were mutually eligible for one county board seat. Initially the support of the Republican party was promised to the warrant officer, but then Chris Patrick entered the race and some say, after some kind of bullying, that support was withdrawn in favor of Chris. So it was, the Chair Person of the Airport Advisory board, Chris Patrick was now in the race for a county board seat and clearly in opposition to our veteran warrant officer. Chris prevailed and as hard as it is for some to believe, he became the chairperson for the county board on his first day…even though Chris did not have any county board experience.

    Then came Chris Patrick’s conflict of interest issues on the county board. Most remember, that IDOT withheld all funding to the county for a short while because of those conflicts. Then most remember, that Mark Isaf created some sort of deal, whereby it would be OK to deny the voters of his district their representation in the county board and on highway funding issues because of Chris’s conflict of interest.
    That “Mark Isaf” agreement was an illegal agreement. Voting rights and the representation of an elected official cannot be abridged by fellow board members…that’s the law and that very issue would become the center piece of a civil suit filed by several voters from Chris Patrick’s district: all against Chris Patrick and his conflict of interest. Our warrant officer was one of the many in that law suit.

    In order to make a long story short: It has been suggested, the selection committee was not allowed to select our veteran because 1) he opposed Chris Patrick and 2) because he was among the many in a civil suit filed against Chris Patrick…regardless of the suit’s merit. Neither of those reasons had anything to do with his lack of qualifications or the great work or contributions he would have provided to the county.

    So there you have it, another possibility…and one explanation that I choose to believe..

  • Rory Steidl
    Posted at 22:15h, 13 March

    Rob, John and Anyone with Direct Knowledge:
    Does the FAA, or IDOT Div. of Aeronautics (DOA) have a minimum standards requirement for airport managers? Have there been any false statements, etc. submitted in his paperwork / applications, any other signed / official documentation to the FAA, IDOT DOA, insurance companies, investigators, aircraft incident reports, certifying instruction sign-offs, to any entity re his credentials, or statements related to the aircraft incidents to the FAA or IDOT DOA, or to insurance company or other official entities (including his written application to Edgar County)? And, just as important, and equally culpable (civilly AND criminally) – has anyone accepted, forwarded, submitted on the manager’s behalf – any of the above documents, knowing or should have known same to contain false statements ? Does the airport insurance, any of the pending / future grants, any sign-offs he must perform as manager require specific credentials? Any of the above have a penalty or consequence (to the manager OR to the county) for false information or failure to meet standards of any document(s) ? Does the CWO3 have any recourse under the Veteran’s Preference Act ? (Not that he would want to work there, now, but enjoy some form of relief via the Act) END/RCS

  • Rory Steidl
    Posted at 22:40h, 13 March

    OK – sorry, yes I see, according to the above article, he is alleged to have signed the application knowing it contained false information. Is a copy of his app or credentials automatically forwarded to IDOT DOA ? If so, by whom? Does the Board, on behalf of the Edgar County Airport and any new Manager hire, have to submit paperwork to IDOT DOA or FAA regarding the manager’s credentials? If so, did you say they knew or should have known said paperwork contained false information? See where I’m going with that? Also, you said, “He claimed it happened before he was manager, but according to fuel purchases it happened after he was the manager.” I’m sure the FAA, etc., has rules that require reports be completed for aircraft incidents / crashes by both the airport and by the pilot – and require notification to FAA and IDOT DOA within a specific time frame. Were those reports completed? When? Were they truthful? There are penalties (administrative + criminal) for filing a false report and / or providing false information and the same for those who knowingly assist (under the Accountability clause).
    You also said there was a meeting. Were false statements made in the meeting? These are simply questions to be explored / FOIAed, etc.