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Mon, May 14, 2012

Davenport Airport Commission At Odds With Air Show Management

At Issue Is Airport Rent Hike For Air Shows

A meeting held to discuss a rental contract between Quad City Air Show and the Davenport City Council left at least two of the city's aldermen frustrated by the inability of the two parties to reach a compromise over the airport rental agreement.

The city's airport commission, which is responsible for oversight of the airport, wants to cancel its contract with the air show to renegotiate a rental agreement. Air show president Ken Hopper, who sat on the commission until 2009, used a similar tactic when he was a commission member. At that time, he negotiated with now-retired Byron Baxter, who was the former transportation director for the city. The meeting was to discuss a proposal to increase the air show’s rent for airport from $9,300 to as much as $25,000.

Alderman Nathan Brown said “I don’t see how we’re better off now than when we started this meeting. He (Hopper) shouldn’t have been negotiating with Byron Baxter in the first place. Now we’ve gone to this new process, and it is a shock to some people. Unless we’re going to negotiate in public, I don’t know what this meeting is for.”

The Quad-City Times reported that the airport commission had asked for additional financial information from Hopper for the purpose of negotiating rent, but Mr. Hopper resisted. His attorney Mike Meloy said the requested information was too vague and ambiguous to provide. Aldermen questioned whether the financial information being sought was proprietary and also questioned some of the financial information in the air show’s federal tax return.

Meloy said his client was willing to sit down and negotiate with the commission. The commission declined to negotiate without the additional information and set the rent at $25,000 per year when a jet squad such as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds is in the lineup and $20,000 without a jet squad.

FMI: www.cityofdavenportiowa.com

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