Dispute between airport authority and Aerospace Specialties dismissed

By Peggy Mackenzie

A dispute between the Greenbrier County Airport Authority (GCAA) and Aerospace Specialties of West Virginia alleging breach of contract was dismissed by mutual consent of all parties on Dec. 8, according to a dismissal order signed by Greenbrier County Circuit Court Judge Robert E. Richardson.

The lawsuit alleged that the authority had cited non-payment of hangar rent, culminating with the GCAA attempting to evict the aerospace company from Hangar One. Aerospace Specialties filed a suit on May 28 asking the court to order a reinstatement of its lease for Hangar One at the GCAA-operated Greenbrier Valley Airport in Maxwelton. The company claimed the hangar was uninhabitable, citing plumbing and electrical issues, and did not pay rent during the months from January to May of 2015 while repairs to the hangar were being made.

The GCAA then filed a counter suit in June, alleging that the airport’s then chief financial officer, Linda Yoak, had written the lease for the hangar and had given Aerospace Specialties a 50 percent discount on the rent without disclosing her ownership interest in the company to the airport authority. The GCAA counter suit alleged the lease “constitutes an illegal contract and is null and void.”

The court order, which did not address the topic of any rent money that may or may not be due the authority, did include four actions required to fulfill the settlement to which the parties had agreed. Those actions are as follows:

1) The parties’ “claims and counterclaims” alleged in the suit in question were dismissed with prejudice, meaning that those assertions cannot be made in any future civil suit.

2) A preliminary injunction that precluded the GCAA from evicting Aerospace Specialties from Hangar One was dissolved.

3) Aerospace Specialties was ordered to “fully vacate Hangar One, leaving all improvements,” no later than Dec. 15.

4) Aerospace Specialties was also ordered to fully vacate Hangar Three, a smaller hangar at the airport that the company has also occupied for some time. The firm must vacate those premises, leaving all improvements, no later than June 1, 2016.

Greenbrier County Commission President Mike McClung stated during the Dec. 22 commission meeting that the case took from mid summer to the present to finally reach a settlement. The costs in legal fees, he added, were “significant.”