To those of us who have worked in or around the airshow industry
for many years, this story comes as a bit of a shock -- a sad
one. One of the favorite figures in an elder airshow age, the man
who ran one of GA's best small-town airshows, is in big trouble
with the law.
The 87-year-old owner of the Sussex
County Airport in New Jersey has pleaded guilty to embezzling more
than $375,000 in FAA grants intended for airport improvements.
The New Jersey Ledger reports that Paul Styger, who has owned
the airport since 1953, pocketed money intended for runway and
facilities upgrades. Since 2004, Styger had applied for and
received more than $3.1 million from 6 federal grants. Authorities
said he began embezzling in 2007. The issue came to light when a
construction company sued Styger for $539,000 in work completed on
the runway, but that Styger did not pay.
Styger's Lawyer, Anna G. Cominsky, told reporters "Mr. Styger
has accepted responsibility today for his conduct and he looks
forward to putting this behind him".
Until 2004, the airport was the home of the Sussex Air Show,
which was billed as "The Biggest Little Airshow in the East."