But "Sadly, There's Nothing FAA or AOPA Can Do Now To Restore
It's a victory for general aviation advocates, a bittersweet win
in the aftermath of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's midnight
bulldozing session at Meigs Field more than two years ago.
As Aero-News reported in real time on Wednesday,
Chicago will have to pay a $33,000 civil penalty this month for
Mayor Daley's midnight raid on Meigs Field airport two years ago.
That, or request a hearing before the FAA.
AOPA had filed a formal complaint
with the agency, alleging that Daley and the city violated both
federal law and FAA regulations by not providing proper notice
before ripping up the lakeside airport. The FAA agreed and hit
Chicago with the maximum penalty allowed by law.
Last week, the FAA sent Chicago a letter saying the city had 15
days to pay or request a hearing. "We are saying either send us a
check for $33,000 or request a hearing" before an administrative
law judge, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory told the Chicago
The FAA continues to investigate another allegation that Chicago
illegally diverted $1.5 million in airport funds to pay the
contractor who destroyed the runway and taxiway.
"Sadly, nothing that the FAA or AOPA can do now will restore the
airport," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "But this, along with
AOPA's determined efforts to save other airports, sends the message
that you cannot destroy general aviation airports with
While Meigs supporters ultimately lost the airport, AOPA
considers the million dollars it spent to wage the fight money well
spent. What came out of the effort today is being applied to save
Out of the Meigs effort, for example, have come such innovations
as the AOPA Airport Support Network and a federal law, the "Meigs
Legacy" provision, which imposes hefty fines on anyone who closes
an airport without the proper notice to the FAA.