FAA sends partial payment to cover lawsuit

Published 12:18 pm Friday, October 17, 2014

The county has received a portion of the money needed to pay off an eminent domain lawsuit to acquire acreage at the Lawrence County Airpark.

On Thursday the county auditor’s office received through direct deposit $476,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration.

In April a judgment stated the county was to pay $490,000 to the Wilson family for land they own at either end of the runways at the airpark. That acreage was sought to clear away trees and other hazards that were causing unsafe conditions there at the request of the FAA.

In January of 2012 the county filed the lawsuit against the Wilsons. Then about a year and a half later a price of $490,000 was negotiated with both sides in agreement. Ninety percent of that was to come from the FAA; the county was to come up with the other 10 percent.

On top of that are bills of $6,987.50 from the Wilsons’ attorney and an 8 percent court-ordered penalty because the judgment has not been paid in a timely manner. As of the end of September that penalty was approximately $13,691.

Now it is up to the county commission to determine the disposition of the $476,000.

“Do they want to pay the Wilsons, pay the attorneys,” Chris Kline, chief deputy auditor, said. “They will have to write a purchase order.”

Commission President Les Boggs said he will be working on processing payment on the judgment today. The money has already been certified by the budget commission and appropriated.

“We are going to pay the whole thing as soon as we can,” he said.

He said the FAA will also cover the county’s 10 percent match, the attorney fees and the penalties.

“All that has to be submitted in a final bill,” Boggs said.