Former airport official’s truck seized by feds
Figure in fraud investigation insists he bought vehicle legally
Federal officials on Monday seized a truck belonging to a former Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority board member, presumably as part of its investigation into alleged fraudulent activities at the airport.
Denny Granum, who resigned early this month from the airport board, said he purchased the truck from a dealership and insisted he had done nothing wrong.
He obtained the vehicle, which had been owned by the Airport Authority, through a dealership, Granum said.
“There was no behind-the-doors dealing whatsoever,” Granum said Monday. “The board was well aware of it.”
The Airport Authority sold “a whole fleet of vehicles” to dealerships over the last five or six years, Granum said.
“I just happened to be the only board member who bought one,” he said.
The seizure “came as a total shock to me,” Granum said.
Granum left the board at the behest of the Mesa County Commission after the board suspended, then fired Rex Tippetts, the director of aviation.
The actions followed on the heels of an FBI raid on the airport offices on Nov. 6 and the filing of a civil lawsuit by a former airport employee who claims she was demoted, then fired by Tippetts as retaliation for refusing to participate in the alleged fraudulent activities.
No charges have been filed in the case and warrants and other documents remain sealed. Federal officials have declined to discuss the case other than to say the investigation relates to allegations of fraud within the airport administration.
Granum could contest the asset forfeiture, if he files an objection to the seizure within 10 days, according to the Department of Justice website.
If the forfeiture goes unchallenged, the truck will become the permanent property of the federal government.
The airport board is to meet today to discuss how to proceed on a building under construction next to the terminal at the airport.
The amount of federal funding for the building is an issue for the authority, which had relied on an airport-improvement grant to pay for much of the three-level building, which was presented to the Federal Aviation Administration as a terminal building.
Airport officials, however, say it is better described as an administrative and fire department building.