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"DIA veteran says his career tanked after cooperating in audit"
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Lovin was once a bright light at airport
DIA veteran says his career tanked after cooperating in audit
By Alan Gathright
The Denver (CO) Rocky Mountain News
Mark Lovin was the poster boy for the kind of manager that made Denver
International Airport one of the nation's superstar airports.
The airport newsletter features snapshots of the deputy operations manager
hitting a golf ball on DIA's new 16,000-foot runway - the longest commercial
airstrip in North America - for a TV show touting the Denver area as a
premier golf destination.
The newsletter also features a shot of him and airport co-managers Turner
West and Vicki Braunagel hoisting Business Traveler magazine's award naming
DIA one of the country's top airports for business fliers.
He boasted a stack of awards for "excellence in budgeting" and "outstanding
work performance" on the United and Frontier airlines expansion at DIA.
But Lovin said his high-flying 19-year career at DIA nose-dived in January
as the release of a city auditor's report loomed, implicating him and 39
other employees in a scheme to file bogus timecards and vacation and sick
Now Lovin may have to repay nearly $29,000 for "absences from work" for
allegedly taking 84 work days off without approval, according to the
He's also accused of receiving another $1,086 in improper reimbursement for
his city vehicle.
Lovin resigned last week after filing an unsuccessful appeal last month
accusing West and Braunagel of demoting him in retaliation for cooperating
with DIA's internal audit about the timecard scandal that embarrassed the
Lovin said in a March 8 letter to airport bosses that they were wrongly
punishing him for running the "comp time" program in "an open and honest
manner" that he says has existed airportwide for three decades.
He claims Braunagel said: "The problem with ops (the operations division) is
you guys kept track of it," Lovin wrote, referring to the comp time system
banned in 2003.
DIA officials maintain there's no truth to the ex-manager's accusations.
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