Leitchfield City Councilmembers claim they were “misled” and “misinformed” regarding $37,000 given to the Grayson County Airport Board last month because they were not told that the board was being sued by the owner of the building for not making payments on it.
Leon Harrison, of the Grayson County Airport Board, approached the City Council during its previous regular meeting on Monday, July 6 to request an increase in its annual allotment from the City of Leitchfield to help pay off a building purchased by Dr. Victor Duvall in 1995.
Leitchfield Mayor William Thomason said that, for around 30 years or more, the City of Leitchfield had contributed an annual allotment of $2,500 to the Grayson County Airport Board, in part, because of the industry the Leitchfield/Grayson County Airport brought into the area.
The annual allotment was, for some time, used by the Airport Board to make payments on the building owned by Duvall; however, it was also used to pay for utilities and upkeep of the airport, Harrison said in a phone interview on Tuesday morning, Aug. 4.
The allotment from the city was never specifically intended for one specific use, said Thomason, adding that the county also contributes to the airport financially by paying for its insurance.
During the July 6 meeting, Harrison requested the annual allotment be increased to $5,000 per year—to adjust to inflation—with 10 years’ worth of payments given in advance to pay off the building.
Rather than increase the allotment to $5,000, the City Council, per Thomason’s recommendation, voted to increase it to $3,700 per year with 10 years’ worth of payments given in advance to pay off the building. No additional allotments will be paid by the city for the next 10 years.
This totaled $37,000, and the check was written out to Duvall Realty, LLC to pay off the building. Mark Duvall, of Duvall Realty, was transferred the building from his father, Dr. Victor Duvall, according to Leitchfield Chief of Police Kevin Henderson.
Harrison said during the July 6 meeting that after the building was paid off, the Airport Board would begin looking into grants to fund the widening of the Leitchfield/Grayson County Airport runway, as well as the purchase of additional land for the airport.
Due to civil liability as a result of not having paid off the building, the Airport Board was unable to apply for grants for this purpose, Henderson said.
On Tuesday, Harrison said the Airport Board, having now paid off the building, is looking into making the aforementioned improvements as part of its Airport Improvement Program (AIP).
According to a judgment filed by Grayson County Circuit Court Clerk Stacie Blain on June 16, 2015, the Grayson County Airport Board was ordered to pay approximately $37,826.86 to Duvall Realty, LLC for the remaining money owed on the building, as well as court costs.
According to the court document, the Grayson County Airport Board was ordered to pay to Duvall Realty, LLC a principal balance of $26,021.27, plus accrued interest from April 2009 in the amount of $8,788.42 and interest at the rate of 12 percent from June 16, 2015 until the judgment was paid. Additionally, the board was ordered to pay $3,017.17 for court costs.
During the regularly scheduled, Monday, Aug. 3 City Council meeting, City Councilmember Harold Miller said he and his fellow Councilmembers were “misled” and “misinformed” because they did not learn until the day after they awarded the $37,000 to the Airport Board that it was being sued by Duvall Realty, LLC for money owed on the building in question.
“I expect anybody [who] serves on any commission that we appoint to be honest,” said Miller.
Harrison said the lawsuit had been dropped and removed from the docket before he approached the City Council on July 6, but added that the Airport Board had fallen behind on payments on the building owned by Duvall because it didn’t have the money to make them.
City Attorney Kenneth Smart said the City of Leitchfield will take no legal action against the Grayson County Airport Board because, while the city was not informed of the full situation, it was not “exactly lied to,” and the money the city awarded to the Airport Board was used as it was intended.
To better keep track of both its money and the Grayson County Airport Board’s activities in the future, the City Council this past Monday voted to request financial statements from the Airport Board on a regular basis.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.