Airport boss trades in Prius for Dodge

The last of the passenger vehicles purchased by Rex Tippetts during his time as aviation director at Grand Junction Regional Airport is to be traded in.

The airport board green-lighted a request by Executive Director Kip Turner to flip a light-blue Toyota Prius, purchased in 2011, for a 2017 all-wheel drive Dodge Durango.

The all-wheel drive feature of the Durango is one advantage that the vehicle has over the Prius, Turner said, noting that the Prius should fetch a decent trade-in price because of its low mileage, under 10,000.

The Durango is likely to remain airport property for some time.

“I won’t consider trading it in in less than five years, and 10 years for heavy equipment,” Turner told the board.

“Neither will we,” board member David Murray said.

The last time the airport sold a passenger vehicle, it drew headlines, board members noted.

The board two years ago sold off three lightly used 2014 GMC Sierra 2500HD diesel pickups for $147,000 after having acquired them in late 2013, while Tippetts was director, for $151,520.

Under Tippetts, the airport rotated the pickups through, holding down the total costs of ownership.

Airport employees, however, weren’t eager to use the pickups and their leather interiors for fear of damaging them.

The airport now uses a gasoline-powered GMC Sierra for work around the airport.

Tippetts didn’t discuss purchasing the Prius in 2011 with anyone else on staff, said Ben Johnson, who worked at the airport then and is now operations director.

The FBI raided airport offices in November 2013, which led to Tippetts’ dismissal.

The U.S. Department of Justice eventually dropped the investigation, and no arrests were made.


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