PARIS, IL. (ECWd) -
During the May 11, 2016, Edgar County Board Meeting, Jimmy Wells, former airport "manager" who long ago resigned his position, spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.
The first thing he did was to pass around an "economic impact study" completed while he was the manager, and should be considered fraudulent just on the basis of his past actions and attempts at obtaining grants using fraudulent information. This study had to have used data provided by him or the former airport board - nearly all of which has been proven to be fraudulent (if it was gleaned from other reports and applications of the airport).
The study itself explains it was accomplished using a comprehensive survey of the airport using on-airport business tenants and visitor-related expenditures. This comprehensive survey was most likely completed by the airport (and we are working on obtaining their submitted survey) and provided to IDOT using information that was not factually accurate. Therefore, the entire "economic impact study" should be discarded unless and until the data used in the study are known. Additionally, the study was completed in 2012 and almost everything has changed out there since then.
He mentioned completing the crosswind runway - but failed to mention is was completed using funds obtained without legal authority and in violation of the very statute he was charged with following.
He talks about the airport facing a financial crisis right now - but fails to mention it was thru his actions, and those of former county board member Adonna Bennett, among others, that is the root cause of this so-called financial crisis at the airport. Those previous grants are the sole reason the current grant has been stopped - they violate the grant assurances thru their construction, and existence, without the statutorily required zoning in place.
His tenure at the airport was one in which I had to file suit in Circuit Court simply to force them to state which statute they were operating the airport under. . .let that one sink in for a minute. . .
His tenure at the airport resulted in numerous lawsuits and AG complaints simply to obtain the public record we had a right to obtain. One of those lawsuits is still outstanding.
The "legacy" he leaves, is one of failure, shame, grant application fraud, hiding public documents, lying to the public, using public property for private gain, hiding a pickup truck in the hangar because it had title problems, secret ballots forever etched in Illinois history, and similar conduct typical of the "good-ole-boy" system formerly in place at the airport. Heltsley is a has-been as a county board member, former airport board members, including Adonna Bennett, were replaced when the board was dissolved and reconstituted.
Let's hope it never again falls into the depths of depravity it has come to be known in recent years.
Please consider a donation to the Edgar County Watchdogs.