Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Birmingham airport CEO's private gym doesn't break the law, commission rules
By Erin Edgemon
The Birmingham (AL) News
The head of the Birmingham Airport Authority didn't break the law when he had a workout room and shower built outside his office, the airport board said in a statement today.
A complaint made against Al Denson, president and CEO of the airport authority, last year was dismissed by the Ethics Commission in April, Michael H. Bell, chairman of the Birmingham Airport Authority Board said in a statement.
Last year, AL.com reported Denson built a shower and workout room for his personal use outside his office a few years ago. Denson reportedly did this without prior approval by the airport board.
A spokesperson said Denson bought the exercise equipment with his own money.
BAA Chief Legal Officer Kem Marks Bryant reported the issue to the Alabama Ethics Commission in late May 2016 to determine if Denson's actions broke the law.
In a statement, Bell said: "At the April 5, 2017 Ethics Commission in Montgomery, the commission received and accepted the staff and investigators' recommendation that the complaint, such as it was, against Mr. Denson, be dismissed without further action. The BAA Board of Directors is pleased to learn of the Commission's decision.
"As you know, this matter was commenced at the commission in late May 2016 through a filing submitted by BAA Chief Legal Officer Kem Marks Bryant, based on her interpretation of a duty she had arising from the Ethics Act, the statement continued. "Mrs. Bryant's filing was not specifically a complaint - it was a report, nor was it filed on behalf of the Board. However, the Commission treated the filing as a complaint, and conducted an investigation pursuant to its internal policies and procedures. The board, once it learned of the issue, conducted an extremely thorough investigation on its own, the results of which were provided to the Ethics Commission."
In a statement to AL.com last year, Toni Herrera-Bast, the airport authority spokeswoman, said: "The allegations made against Mr. Denson are completely false. An internal inquiry is currently being conducted by the appropriate people. Mr. Denson is cooperating fully with the internal inquiry, and he is confident the results will be favorable to him."
Bell today stated that the proceedings of the Ethics Commission are intended to the confidential.
"Unfortunately, that was not the case here, but nevertheless, I believe that it is in the best interest of the board and the airport that we respect the intended confidentiality of the process, refrain from further comment, and allow the dismissal of the matter to speak for itself," he said in a statement.
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