Federal risk level rising at GJ airport

Rex Tippetts: Allegedly awarded contracts to family members of Airport Authority board

Grand Junction Regional Airport, once considered a “nominal” risk for administering federal grants, is now rated a “moderate” risk by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Interim Director of Aviation Amy Jordan told the Airport Authority of the change, which is expected to result in increased levels of federal scrutiny, starting Jan. 2.

Jordan learned of it Dec. 20, when she met with FAA officials in Denver to discuss how various rooms and spaces in a building under construction at the airport should be more accurately labeled.

It was in that meeting that Jordan said that she was told the FAA had increased its risk level for the airport in the beginning of November.

The FBI and U.S. Department of Transportation raided airport offices Nov. 6, setting the stage for the suspension and subsequent firing of Rex Tippetts, the director of aviation.

Jordan addressed the increased risk level during the first board meeting since the board fired former aviation director Tippetts, authority board member Paul Nelson said.

The FAA has three levels of risk: nominal, moderate and elevated.

According to FAA documents, the risk model was designed to provide a broad review of airport-improvement grant recipients’ internal controls and performance and assess the overall risk associated with their grant management practices.

“This information will be used to determine if a sponsor has overarching issues that need to be addressed to protect the federal investment,” a program grant letter says.


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