JAY - Delaware County commissioners will go behind closed doors on Monday to discuss a possible settlement of federal and state lawsuits involving the Grand Lake Regional Airport.
Two years ago, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration filed lawsuits against the Delaware County Commission demanding the return of over $800,000 in grant funds awarded to the airport.
The lawsuits came on the heels of a March 2005 decision by the Monkey Island Development Authority, a county trust set up to oversee the airport, to turn the operation over to airport manager Paul Staten.
In March 2005, with a newly seated board, MIDA was facinga federal marshal's sale of the airport to repay over $100,000 in debt to Mid-America Ag Network and Brawner Construction.
MIDA, also facing federal racketeering and conspiracy allegations that Staten filed in 2004, agreed to let the airport manager have title to the property in exchange for $25,000 and to assume all judgments and liens against the property.
For an airport, convenience store, hanger home and 57 acres of lakefront property, Staten agreed to assume judgments and liens in excess of $200,000.
In September 2006, a federal judge ruled that Delaware County and MIDA co-signed the grant agreements, therefore were jointly responsible to repay more than $800,000 to the FAA and OAC.
Both grants contained conditions that, if the land was no longer used for airport purposes, disposal would be at fair market value and the federal government's investment share would be returned.
Monday's agenda gives public notice that the commission will be going into executive session to discuss pending litigation with the OAC and FAA, as well as to return with possible action for legal counsel to approve settlement options.