Urban County Councilman George Myers asked Lexington's law department Tuesday to investigate whether the Blue Grass Airport board had the authority to provide $10,000 to former executive director Michael Gobb last year for medical expenses.
Myers also said he wants to know just who is responsible for returning that money to airport coffers.
The issue came up during a presentation made by airport officials to the council about progress the airport has made since a spending scandal broke several months ago.
"Specifically, the $10,000 was a loan," airport board chairman J. Robert Owens told the council. He said the return of the money is being negotiated, and that his intent is to get the entire amount returned. He added he couldn't say much more about the issue because of privacy concerns.
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Gobb and three other top airport officials resigned from their jobs in January amid questions about their spending of airport money. The issue of the $10,000 arose after Gobb took a medical leave from his job from mid-July to just after Labor Day in 2008.
Records show that, in addition to giving Gobb $10,000, the airport paid for a one-way plane ticket to Tucson, Ariz., for him on the same day he requested the medical leave.
Records also show that Gobb charged $102 to his airport credit card a couple of days later at Cottonwood de Tucson, a treatment facility for a wide range of conditions. The reason for the medical leave has never been revealed publicly.
Myers also asked the airport officials for an update on reimbursements that the airport has received from employees and former employees since the spending scandal came to light.
State auditor Crit Luallen's office found that seven airport officials, including the four who resigned, had more than $500,000 in questionable expenses from January 2006 to December 2008. Some of the former airport officials have made monetary reimbursements and returned some items they bought with airport money to the airport.
Those reimbursements include at least part of more than $5,000 spent by airport officials at a strip club in Texas in 2004.
But a complete accounting of reimbursements and returns has not been made public.
Owens said he wants to make sure the public knows that Blue Grass Airport is a world-class facility, and told the council about recent changes in airport policies, including spending, and in personnel.
"It's time to end this chapter and move forward," he said, repeating a phrase he has used often since the scandal erupted.
Council member Diane Lawless said she was tired of hearing the board blame others. She said she wanted to hear the board acknowledge that they did not provide adequate or responsible oversight of the airport.
That, she said, "strikes me and worries me the most ... I never heard even once that the board made a mistake ... That's the part that really disturbs me the most about the airport board."
Owens, replying to Lawless, said he felt the board was "misled" by the former airport officials.
The fault lies not only with the current board but with past board members, Owens said.