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Thu, Aug 02, 2012

FAA Report Questions Oklahoma Airport Land Transfer

Says Transfer For Industrial Development Inappropriate

The FAA has sent a report to city officials in Woodard, OK, saying a  land swap deal "inappropriately transferred title to airport land to the municipal authority for industrial development purposes." The city is reportedly looking into the questionable deal.

According to the report, about 135 acres on the east side of West Woodward Airport (KWWR) were acquired by the city in 1998. The acquisition agreement said that any monies realized from the sale or lease of the property were to be used to cover airport capital or operating expenses.

But the Woodward News reports that the FAA document indicates that the Woodward Municipal Authority (WMA) very quickly obtained control of the land for a "nominal sum," and has used all proceeds of the sale or lease of the land for its own purposes. The FAA found that the issue "has been in existence for many years."

City Manager Alan Riffel questions why it has suddenly become an issue if the arrangement has been ongoing for some time. "Obviously, we're reviewing the report in great detail," he told the paper.

The reports says that not only should the title to the land be returned to the airport, but that the money the WMA has collected from sales or leases should retroactively be paid to the airport account, and the majority of the repayments should be completed in 45 days. Riffel said that the issues involved, particularly in some of the long-term lease deals, would make that "complicated" with many issues to be resolved.

FMI: www.cityofwoodward.com

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