Paris, IL. (ECWd) -
After the last grant went down in a flaming pile of you know what due to the outrageous lies and exaggerations contained within it (with no one held accountable), the Edgar County Airport has once again submitted a new grant application for even more of your hard-earned tax dollars.
Read the previous article here, where the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, halted all work on the grant last year because of "inconsistencies" in the application.
Noteworthy “justifications” for this new grant:
1) "High demand" by airport users for additional fuel capacity. Fuel sales documents don’t support that claim.
2) "Resident aircraft 16", FOIA documents prove otherwise.
3) Used letter of 11/28/2012 in justifications declaring 27 aircraft, don’t know why...
4) Hanson Engineering photo shows two aircraft rarely at the airport in the fueling area. Fuel sales records that we have do not show a large Jet A fuel sale in the past year….Hanson has provided only one picture with a tail number on it. No documents supporting the justification of transient user usage and need. Under FOIA request, county denied any knowledge of these aircraft and later provided a picture…showing airport manager present.
Here is the break-down of what you will pay for this playground should it get approved:
Edgar County Residents: $72,000.00
Illinois Residents: $40,000.00
U.S. residents: $998,325.00
How many airplanes are located at this airport? "FIVE", or 10 depending on how you calculate it (according to Edgar County's own FOIA responses). That is $222,000.00 per airplane for something this county does not need at this time. Even if we stated 10 aircraft to play it safe, it would still be $111,000.00 per aircraft.
Compare this figure with those of the Dec 11, 2014 State of Washington Airport Investment Study of Funding that lists funding per aircraft. There is a striking difference. Pay attention to the far-right column.
Remember, nothing out there is needed - however, a credit card reader for the fuel station is wanted, and would be beneficial - and that can be purchased for around $25k.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration's report, the average number of airplanes per the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) is 30. The minimum requirement to maintain NPIAS funding is 10 based, flight-worthy aircraft.
Problems with the new grant application:
Page 6 states that "there is a high demand by airport users for additional fuel capacity at the airport". That is impossible seeing as they would need to place a definition on "demand" as opposed to "want". There is no demand at all for additional fuel capacity, and as a matter of public record there is too much fuel and they do not know what to do to keep it from going bad. They are even offering this fuel at below cost, around $1.00 per gallon below surrounding airports, in order to get rid of the currently stored fuel before it goes bad. The airport's last purchase of Jet-A and/or AV-Gas fuel was in August of 2014. Tell me again where this so-called demand for more fuel is coming from.
Pages 14 thru 17 include inaccurate data, in particular, the data reflecting the number of aircraft (page 16). That number was inaccurate at the time of the inspection and for some reason keeps getting included in grant applications.
Projected Revenue - In their projected revenue, they state a figure of over $57,000 per year in fuel sales (page 6 of the application). It seams like an impossible feat, considering the total fuel sales from Oct 1, 2014 thru May 1, 2015 was only $6791.66 of 100LL and $1440.35 of Jet-A, for a grand total of $8232.01 - a FAR cry from the projected $57,000.00.
Even if the fuel sales were to double, it would not come near the projected income - to do that it would take a 700% increase in sales.
Most Recent Document Request:
Number of Aircraft:
This is a major point of alleged inaccuracy:
The County is claiming there are 16 aircraft at the airport, however, there are only 15 hangars:
-1 duplicate listing
-2 RSB non-flying aircraft
-10 leases that were in effect for less than 6 months before submitting the grant application based on these docs
There are 2 leases where the tail numbers of the aircraft are not registered to the leaseholders - one registered to a business and one registered to someone from Oklahoma.
-? Leased hangers with non flying aircraft - unknown at this time
The bottom line here is, these numbers are highly questionable based on the past actions and inaccurate statements of this facility's management.
Additionally, there was only one aircraft at the Edgar County Airport for the year of 2014 in compliance with all regulations imposed by the County Board/Edgar County Airport Advisory Board and a February 2015 FOIA showed only one aircraft owner with proper insurance as mandated by the County. Grant assurances require equal and fair treatment for all - anything less violates those grant assurances.
There are 2 experimental aircraft: 1 Amateur Built (Experimental) (page 15), and 1 Experimental (page 23)
The "Guest Book" of visitors (download here):
A quick review of the guest book reveals the following:
- There were only 6 pages of guest book signatures, some were illegible.
- Beginning from 10/18/2012 Thru 6/27/2015 ….32 months
- There were only 102 guests at the airport over 32 months or about 3.1875 guests per month as an average: less than one a week.
- In 2012 there were 4 guests..3 months/4= 1.33 guests per month, less than one a week.
- In 2013 there were 35 guests…12 months/35= 2.91 guests per month, less than one a week.
- In 2014 there were 49 guests…12 months/49= 4.08 guests per month, about one airplane a week.
- In 2015 there were 14 guests…6 months/14= 2.33 guests per month, less than one a week.
Some of the continuing Airport issues:
1) New project for $1,110,325 is fraudulent: there are not 16 or 15 airplanes at the airport because: a) FOIA request shows only 5 insurance documents and subsequently only 5 possible aircraft for the entire year of 2014 plus several months. Even these 5 aircraft/owners were not in compliance with the insurance required by the airport and should have been evicted from the airport for non-compliance.
2) The airport is not entitled to the project, its funds or its benefits, because, this is once again fraud.
3) Earlier FOIA requests revealed 12 hanger leases when 15 hangers are in use. Who is undocumented and not paying rent? Recent FOIA request showed leases for non-flyable aircraft that cannot be used for justification.
4) 5 airplanes in residency in 2014, flying, and with insurance documents falls well below the 16 claimed on the grant application and well below the 10 required to enter into the NPIAS funding program. The airport should be removed from this program.
5) The County’s portion of his project is -+ $72,000.00….the State’s portion is -+ $40,000.00 the feds make up the rest. If last year’s project had been allowed to proceed….the county would have been -+$60,000.00 more in debt and ended the year with an increase in the borrowed money because of the airport and in a greater deficit.
That deficit would have been compounded were it not for the forced recoupment of funds resulting from the sale of the Mass Transit operation and the $150,000.00 windfall from that sale and the monies that were returned to the county through the Edgar County Watchdog’s efforts. There is still around $75,000 still owed to the county from that operation when they illegally sold the property.
6) The County's -+$72,000.00 contribution (your tax money) is in addition to the -+$100-150K or so the county commits to the airports operation each year (less lease incomes and fuel sales).
7) Jerry Griffin continues as a "Airport Manager' even though he lied repeatedly on is application. Not because the board members are stupid, but because his purpose is to lie about airport project needs. Case in point: Hanson Engineering justified more paved surfaces with pictures of transient aircraft. FOIA request responses indicated the County had absolutely no knowledge of this aircraft. When questioned further, because these appeared to be old pictures, the county had a different response. Some pictures were provided, with what appeared to be of the airport manager near these aircraft. Hiding information from the taxpayers. Lies.
8) The aircraft crash (2014) on the runway that no one knows anything about - still not made public. Nobody can say who was piloting the aircraft, why it crashed, when it crashed, who was the passenger, who was the pilot, or how it got towed/hauled from the runway into the hangar. Word leaked out that there was in fact a crashed aircraft, and it was verified that one did crash, but no other information was made available. We still believe Jerry was in that aircraft. We now know that aircraft was decommissioned earlier this year (proof)(article on this is here).
9) Patrick (and others) never provided insurance documents….Jerry Griffin "verified" his insurance…therefore no documents proving aircraft existence, contrary to the lease agreements and statements thereon. Page 68 of the board minutes states that a certificate of insurance must be "presented" annually to the County and the County must be named additionally insured. This County won't even enforce its own lease agreements - at least for this individual. We believe he is in violation of his lease agreement.
Patrick could also be violating paragraph 15 of his lease, which states that no commercial business will be allowed without prior approval. According to the FAA, the airplane listed on his lease agreement is in the name of a corporation.
10) Fuel records indicate not enough fuel sales to warrant anything.
11) Continued association with the Booster Club….which was dissolved by the state more than 25 years ago.
12) The Airport still has not come clean on why they started refusing cash payments for fuel purchases a few years ago (after an audit pointed out discrepancies).
Finally, to wrap things up, this application is not factually correct, uses old data, exaggerates projected income beyond anything even remotely possible, claims aircraft either non-flyable or not resident there anymore for the grant justification, and attempts to provide funding for something that is not needed, and will never be needed in the foreseeable future.