Last week we featured, YOU DON’T KNOW JACK, this week we peel back the onion a little more.

What we do know is that a lawyer paid a lawyer to write a letter to lawyers, Ethics Commission, for an advisory ethics opinion { no. 2016-04} that would allow a lawyer— who is also a member of the Fairhope Airport Board, to enter into a lease with the same airport authority, whose partner is the Municipal Judge for Fairhope. The opinion is 6 pages. For simplicity sake we will address page 1.

[embeddoc url=“https://cdn.rippreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ethicscommission.pdf" download=“all”]

Please understand that the Ripp Report does not have a copy of the original letter requesting the opinion of the ethics commission and that the opinion outlines the standards the lease must comply with.

The third paragraph:

“The Airport Authority member may not use confidential information gained by virtual of his position on the Airport Authority to benefit his company and their submitted bid.”

On August 7, 2015 three board members resigned— why?

Airport Authority Selects New Leadership

FOUNDING OFFICERS RESIGNING At its July meeting, Airport Authority members unanimously voted to appoint Joe McEnerney as next chairman, Pam Caudill vice chair, and Ray Hix secretary/treasurer: to be finalized at the August 18th meeting: previously-announced resignations of Chuck Zunk, Rod Platt and Charlie Bassett become effective in September.

Source: thefairhopetimes.blogspot.com/2015/08/airport-authority-selects-new-leadership.html

Joe McEnerey was unanimously appointed as Chairman, Pam Caudill as Vice Chair and Ray Hix as Secretary/Treasure, by the Airport Authority. From that day forward, board member Hix was privileged to confidential information regarding airport leases, bids, and financial information the general public is not privy to. Mr. Hix should not have proceeded as a board member to secure a lease as Mid Bay Air LLC. Mr Burrell and the new board members turned a blind eye to the obvious conflict of interest.

Furthermore, the rest of the Board should have raised objections immediately and advised Mr. Hix to step down from the board if he was going to proceed with the lease. Instead, they set up an ad hoc committee chaired by City Council President and Airport Authority Board Member— Jack Burrell.

Mr. Burrell should have run like hell from any such deal. Instead, he reviewed the bids and determined his associate board member was the winner. He was blind to any ethics issues.

The last paragraph on page one of the Ethics Opinion states:

“A copy of any contract/lease agreement entered into between the Board member and the Airport Authority must be filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission within ten days of its having been entered into.”

On Nov. 8th 2016 a request to the Alabama Ethics Commission requested,

“A written report and/or remarks regarding the Mid-Bay Air Lease that was awarded around Dec. 2015, at the Sonny Callahan Airport in Fairhope Alabama.”

On Dec. 2 2016 the Alabama Ethics Commission replied,

“No lease has ever been submitted to us regarding this issue.”

On Dec 23 2015, prior to any Ethics Opinion, the Airport Authority signed a memorandum of lease with Mid-Bay Air LLC.

[embeddoc url=“https://cdn.rippreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/lease-ripp.pdf" download=“all”]

The only conclusion to make is that the lease is null and void and that the Airport Board failed miserably to oversee an obvious conflict of interest or even their own due diligence of complying with Ethics rules. Mr Burrell should resign his position immediately.

This is a developing story and as we peel the onion back we will update you.

Some obvious questions of Mr. Burrell would be; Does he have any business interest in any Hix/Snedecker companies? Has he ever flown on any Hix/Snedecker aircraft? Or has any other board member?

Mr. Burrell attended the Paris Air show representing the City of Fairhope and has a personal occupation that represents aviation field; what conflict of interest may exist that we have yet discovered?

These are questions that need to be asked by authorities in an in depth investigation, because it appears “WE DON’T KNOW JACK” about what is going on at the Airport.