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"Police investigating Indiana airport manager"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 5 Oct 2005 02:10:15 -0400
Wednesday, October 5, 2005
Police investigating airport manager
By KEN de la BASTIDE
The Anderson (IN) Herald Bulletin
Despite an investigation by the Madison County Sheriff's Department, Steve
Darlington, manager of the Anderson Municipal Airport, contends he has done
Prosecutor Rodney Cummings requested the Sheriff's Department to conduct an
investigation into allegations of conflict of interest between Darlington
and a consulting contract he signed with Mann Aviation in 2001.
"The investigation will be to determine whether or not there is a conflict
of interest," Cummings said on Tuesday.
Information was received by Cummings from attorney Bruce Munson, who
represents Law Aviation, the current fixed-base operator at the Anderson
The allegation is that Darlington received a consulting fee from Mann
Aviation while receiving a salary as airport manager from the city.
"There was enough information to conduct an investigation and determine if
there is a factual basis to support the allegations," Cummings said.
Darlington reportedly signed the consulting contract with Mann Aviation on
April 4, 2001, and was then hired as airport manager by the Anderson Board
of Aviation on April 17, 2001.
Darlington was appointed as airport manager by former Mayor J. Mark Lawler,
and the appointment was approved by the board.
A violation of the state's conflict of interest statute is a Class D felony
punishable by 18 months to three years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
A letter sent to Cummings by City Attorney David Happe states that
Darlington was a public servant during the terms of the contract.
"He (Darlington) certainly had a pecuniary (financial) interest in the
contract, as the payments attest," wrote Happe. "The contract was connected
with actions taken by the board. In fact the validity of his contractual
interest depended on getting the city to make financial concessions. The
city had to give free rent and waive its fuel flow revenue requirements."
When asked about the investigation, Happe declined to comment because it is
a personnel matter and said his letter speaks for itself.
Darlington received a monthly payment of $2,000 per month from Mann Aviation
as a consultant.
Darlington said he knew there was an investigation taking place, but said he
did nothing wrong.
"The board approved everything," he said of the contract with Mann. "I sold
Anderson Aviation to Dennis Mann. There was a three-year agreement because
they had no one qualified to keep the charter flight certification valid."
Darlington said his consulting contract with Mann would have been invalid if
the board didn't approve it.
"There are some documents missing," he said, "which is strange."
Darlington said he filed a conflict of interest disclosure with then airport
attorney Thomas Beeman, and the legal staff during Lawler's administration
approved the contract with Mann.
Mayor Kevin Smith said he believes the appropriate action is being taken
through the request for an investigation.
"If there is wrongdoing, we want it handled appropriately," Smith said. "We
want to uphold the public's faith. If there are issues, we want them
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