Contractor Probe Into NC Airport Continues

Sept. 3, 2009


The federal and state probes into Smith Reynolds Airport continued Wednesday with even more contractors speaking out.

WXII went to Durham in search of the prime contractor over the project to explain why companies aren't getting paid.

The Smith Reynolds Airport continues to stir up controversy, as dozens of sub-contractors accuse the airport and state of getting a project finished at their expense.

After almost a week of unreturned phone calls from Mainline Contracting, WXII decided to head to the company headquarters to see what, if anything, the company would say face to face.

The work to complete the runway safety expansion reached a new low on Wednesday. There are now stalled tractors and equipments as yet another subcontractor waits to get paid.

John Sharpe, with Cat-A-Hula Haulers, said he spent six and half weeks hauling dirt for the runway, until last Thursday when he found out that his check for almost $600,000 didn't exist.

Mainline, the prime contractor, remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Airport Commission.

At the company's headquarters in Durham, it appeared to be business as usual on Wednesday. WXII stopped by to see if the company's owners would talk in person but left speaking to no one but the receptionist, who referred inquiries to an attorney.

"Mainline has previously agreed to and cooperated with what was represented to be an 'audit' requested by the North Carolina Department of Transportation," the attorney said. "To date, the NC-DOT has not informed Mainline of any specific adverse findings with respect to this audit."

"The corruption is sitting down in Raleigh," Sharpe said. "The corruption here in Forsyth County is sitting at the airport."

Sharpe's company stood to make $1 million, he said. Sharpe said he blames the airport and NC-DOT for not making the federal bonded funds available to him.

Several days ago, Aviation Director Richard Walls said, "We haven't paid anything since February." WXII then showed him documentation from NC-DOT, which suggested payments are going out, just not to the subcontractors.

"What does this show if you claim you haven't made a payment since February?" Walls said. "I'd have to research this."

"I think after seeing the previous story on your TV station is what actually may have opened some eyes down there," Sharpe said. "Right now, nobody in this state cares that we're out here working for nothing and we're in danger of losing everything we ever owned."

While the federal and state probes continue, many of the subcontractors have gone as far to contact senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr. Some even called the White House searching for their money and answers.

More Contractors Speak Against Airport

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