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"Former Missoula airport director pleads guilty to bribery"
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Former airport director pleads guilty to bribery
The Associated Press
MISSOULA - The former director of the Missoula International Airport,
already serving a 10-year prison term for embezzling $645,000, pleaded
guilty Friday to a federal bribery charge.
John P. Seymour, 46, admitted taking a $60,000 kickback from two Missoula
businessmen after helping inflate the price of land eventually purchased by
"I accepted compensation, the $60,000, for my participation in purchasing
the property," Seymour said Friday. "It's illegal for me to do that in my
position as a public official."
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy scheduled sentencing for Sept. 29.
Prosecutors said Seymour inflated the value of land adjacent to the airport,
owned by B.J. Lefler and Roger D. Hall, until the airport offered, in August
2000, to buy the 17.73-acre parcel for $603,544. Four months earlier, the
property appraised at $227,630.
The Federal Aviation Administration and airport authorities negotiated over
how much federal and local tax money should have been used to buy the land.
The final agreement between the airport and the FAA was based on a final
sales price of $306,000, which equaled the highest appraised value of
$246,000 plus potential condemnation fees of $60,000. Missoula County was
left responsible for $297,000 of the inflated price.
The U.S. attorney's office said the airport is not using the land it
purchased from Lefler and Hall.
Personal and business records of Lefler and Hall showed they each gave
Seymour $30,000, which Seymour disguised in his personal records as proceeds
for selling the men 20 bison.
Seymour was suspended from his job at the airport, without pay, on Nov. 15,
2004, when auditors discovered that $645,000 was missing from airport
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