Suspended Madison airport board chairman sues judge-executive

RICHMOND — The man who was suspended earlier this month as chairman of the Madison airport board has sued Judge-Executive Kent Clark.

In a suit filed Jan. 21, Eddie Pullins seeks an injunction that prohibits Clark from taking the "arbitrary action," and seeks a judgment declaring that Clark alone does not have the authority to remove any board member.

Pullins, who was suspended from the board on Jan. 11 by a unanimous vote of Madison Fiscal Court, also seeks a judgment of more than $4,000 but less than $75,000 to compensate for his loss and punitive damages. The position was unpaid.

Clark had no immediate comment Friday on the suit. However, in a letter to Jimmy Dale Williams, Pullins' attorney, Clark cited airport bylaws that say a board member "may be replaced by the appointing authority upon showing the authority of misconduct as a board member or upon conviction of a felony."

"Mr. Pullins' actions dealing with the affairs and business of the airport go way beyond misconduct and in some cases could be considered criminal," Clark wrote to Williams.

The letter does not give details about alleged misconduct. Authorities in Madison County did not have a record of any pending charges against Pullins on Friday.

The suit says Pullins has not been convicted of a felony and "has not engaged in misconduct as a board member." Nor has he "received any notice in writing of any allegations against him concerning misconduct on his part as a board member." The suit says the "allegation of possible criminal conduct on his part is untrue."

The suit says that on Jan. 4, Clark called Pullins and asked him to "call off" an airport board meeting scheduled for that day. When Pullins said he could not do that, he alleges that Clark said "he was going to take him (Pullins) off the board."

A week later, on Jan. 11, Clark called Pullins again and told him that he was "off the airport board." Pullins was also notified by letter about the suspension, but he said he never received a copy of it until he got one from another board member on Jan. 19.

Pullins alleges he never received "any written documentation of allegations concerning why" he was suspended.

Attorney Williams said Pullins has not been charged with any misconduct.

Madison Circuit Court Judge Jean Chenault Logue will hold a hearing on the matter at 1 p.m. Monday.

The airport is jointly owned by Madison County, Richmond and Berea.