FBI probe of airport to be discussed in private

The Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority board announced it will discuss an FBI fraud investigation, which authorities have said is targeted at airport administration, away from the public in executive session next Tuesday.

The authority released an agenda Thursday for its regular meeting on Tuesday calling for executive session “with the authority’s legal counsel for the purpose of receiving legal advice relating to a pending investigation.”

The meeting is scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m. at the Grand Junction City Hall hearing room, 250 N. Fifth St.

Executive sessions allow public boards to privately discuss legal and certain business matters, but any formal action must happen in public, according to Colorado law.

Before the scheduled executive session, board members are scheduled Tuesday to hear a “manager’s update” from Aviation Director Rex Tippetts.

The Airport Authority has said it has not been told about the purpose, or possible duration, of a federal investigation which became public Nov. 7 when agents of the FBI and U.S. Department of Transportation executed a search warrant at the airport’s administrative offices and seized unspecified financial records.

The search warrant and other records in the case have been sealed by a federal judge.

The FBI has said the probe concerns fraud allegations against airport administration.

On Monday, Moody’s Investors Service released a warning, saying the investigation’s impact on the airport’s credit rating was unclear, but could cost Grand Junction some $77 million in federal grants.

The warning also noted FBI involvement is “rare” because alleged violations of federal law at airports are routinely handled by the Federal Aviation Administration.


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