Feds seize Tippetts’ truck
One day after a similar action involving a truck belonging to a former Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority board member, federal authorities seized a truck from former airport Director of Aviation Rex Tippetts, according to a source close to the federal investigation at the airport.
The source told The Daily Sentinel said the seizure of Tippetts’ truck happened Tuesday pursuant to a court order, executed by the FBI.
Stephen Laiche, Tippetts’ lawyer, didn’t confirm or deny the seizure but acknowledged Tippetts owns a truck and said everything is aboveboard with it. They’ll contest any forfeiture action in court if it happens, he said.
“We’ve got the loan paperwork (for the truck), certified check and receipt,” Laiche said. “He paid over ‘Blue Book’ value for it.”
If a federal asset forfeiture action is unchallenged in court, the seized property in question become property of the federal government.
Former board member and chairman Denny Granum told the Sentinel Monday his truck, which was also seized on Monday, been purchased through a dealership and was previously owned by the Airport Authority.
Granum indicated the Airport Authority sold “a whole fleet of vehicles” to dealerships over the past five or six years. He added the board was aware of his purchase of the truck and that Monday’s seizure came as a “total shock.”
Granum resigned from the Airport Authority board earlier this month, weeks after Tippetts was fired by the board without explanation.
The developments relate to the FBI’s Nov. 5 raid at airport offices. Court records in the case remains sealed.
Federal authorities have said their investigation relates to fraud by airport administration.
Former Airport Security Coordinator Donna VanLandingham claimed in a civil lawsuit filed last month she was demoted, then fired by Tippetts for refusing to participate in illegal activities.
The lawsuit names the Airport Authority and Tippetts.
Neither side has formally responded to the allegations.