Special Reports

Airport pays large sums for consultants

A spending scandal at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport has resulted in changes in operations. Those changes have led the airport board to pay large amounts of money to consultants.

The airport agreed to pay Jacobs Consultancy, which began work at the airport in mid-January, $37,000 through the end of February, plus $8,500 a week for interim management support provided by Alfred Testa Jr., according to information provided to the Herald-Leader by the airport. Those amounts do not cover costs for travel and subsistence expenses, for which Jacobs is billing the airport.

Jacobs is helping Blue Grass Airport in five areas: policies and procedures, management compensation, management organization, interim management support and general advisory assistance.

The airport also has paid thousands of dollars to APCO Worldwide Inc., a public affairs and strategic communications firm, since revelations of more than half a million dollars in travel and expense spending over three years led to the resignations of four top airport officials, an audit by the state auditor's office and a criminal investigation.

Since April, the airport has paid APCO Worldwide nearly $79,000, according to Tom Halbleib, the airport's attorney. APCO employee David Wescott, who has been serving as a spokesman for Blue Grass Airport, earns $325 an hour.

Halbleib, whose law firm of Stites & Harbison hired APCO, said his firm received no payment in connection with the APCO representation.

Blue Grass Airport has used the services of APCO off and on since the crash of Comair Flight 5191 in 2006.