Judge: Air board can continue to collect fuel-flow fees

-- May 12--JEFFERSONVILLE -- The Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners was offered somewhat of a reprieve Wednesday in its fuel-flow fee lawsuit. Clark County Superior Court No. 2 Judge Jerry Jacobi ruled the air board could...

Douglas Bates, the attorney representing Aircraft Specialists, said the company is being charged an additional fee that was not part of the two entities' original contract.

"It would have been our hope the airport would have found legitimate ways to fund their budget and not put it on our backs," he said.

Bates explained that when the contract was signed, Aircraft Specialists reached the long-term deal because it was going to build its own buildings at the airport and make a substantial investment. But then the air board added the fuel-flow fee because its revenue situation changed with the county and it also took a hit because of the poor economy.

"They unilaterally imposed a fee on us," Bates said. "[Aircraft Specialists] agreed to take on some serious risk to locate at that airport. They were willing to do that based on the provisions of the contract."

He defended what some county officials and the attorneys for the air board have described as overly generous leases.

"This is not a sweetheart deal, as [the air board] keeps wanting to say," Bates said. "We took on almost all the risk out there for our operations. We're still paying on those obligations that we have. It's improper to paint ASI as someone who is taking advantage of the situation."

With the decision handed down by Jacobi Wednesday, the attorneys will prepare for a hearing with the court of appeals and he justified offering a partial ruling on the case, which effectively would send the final decision to the court of appeals.

"You will get a final judgment, and you will get a final judgment quicker," Jacobi said.

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