The Greenbrier County Airport Authority (GCAA) filed a response last week to a lawsuit lodged against them by Aerospace Specialties Inc.
The lawsuit had alleged breach of contract, stating that the authority evicted Aerospace Specialties from an airplane hangar at the Greenbrier Valley Airport after they were unable to move in due to plumbing and electrical issues. The suit alleged that the authority had cited non-payment as the reason for the eviction.
According to the suit, originally filed on May 28, Aerospace Specialties Inc., owned by Scott Yoak, signed a lease agreement on Hangar One at the Greenbrier Valley Airport, but was unable to move in to the hangar until May. Aerospace Specialties did not pay rent during the months from January to May when repairs to the hangar were being made, because, the suit said, the hangar was uninhabitable.
Now the GCAA has filed a response to the lawsuit, stating that while there were issues with Hangar One, none of them kept Aerospace Specialties from moving in and paying the $1,500 per month rent.
Further, the GCAA filed a counter-claim alleging that Scott Yoak’s mother, Linda Yoak, who was acting as the airport’s chief financial officer during the time in question, and had written the lease, gave Aerospace Specialties a discount on the rent, typically $3,000 per month. The response said she was able to “establish the terms and draft the lease,” all without disclosing her ownership interest in the company to the airport authority. The GCAA countersuit alleges the lease “constitutes an illegal contract and is null and void.”
The airport has been in upheaval since last spring, when long-time airport manager Jerry O’Sullivan retired unexpectedly. The GCAA, which oversees the airport, hired Stephen Snyder as the new manager and fired Sherman McClung, who had been hired by O’Sullivan as the operations and maintenance manager. The authority also placed Linda Yoak on administrative leave pending the results of a state audit of the airport’s financial records.
Since then, O’Sullivan has filed a lawsuit against the GCAA alleging they failed to pay him for outstanding vacation and other pay, and Aerospace Specialties has filed this lawsuit as well.
Last year, the GCAA began a concentrated effort to bring all hangar tenants up to rate on their rental fees. According to GCAA Chairman Lowell Johnson, who spoke out about the hangar rentals in airport authority meetings as early as spring of 2014, some tenants were paying full price while others were leasing the hangars for deep discounts.