Special Reports

Time line of the airport investigation

Nov. 23, 2008: Herald-Leader articles show that Michael Gobb, Blue Grass Airport's executive director, spent more than $200,000 in travel and other expenses from January 2006 through March 2008.

Nov. 25: Lexington Vice Mayor Jim Gray calls for an investigation of Gobb's expenses.

Dec. 2: State Auditor Crit Luallen confirms that she is examining the finances of the airport.

Dec. 23: The airport board announces that it has suspended Gobb with pay while it conducts an investigation.

Jan. 2, 2009: Gobb resigns at a special board meeting that had been called to discuss firing him.

Jan. 5: Bernard Lovely, chairman of the airport board, says he will cancel the credit cards of seven airport officials after finding that three airport employees charged $5,080 at a Texas strip club on an airport credit card.

Jan. 6: Luallen says she has notified law enforcement agencies of possible criminal wrongdoing at the airport; the Urban County Council asks Lovely to step down as chairman.

Jan. 7: Lovely refuses to step aside.

Jan. 11: Herald-Leader articles show that four officials who reported to Gobb — John Coon, operations director; John Rhodes, administration and finance director; Brian Ellestad, marketing and community relations director; and John Slone, planning and development director — rang up $332,000 in charges on their airport-issued credit cards over the last three years.

Jan 13: Three directors — Coon, Rhodes and Sloan — resign; the airport board selects J. Robert Owens as its new chairman; a new interim director, Alfred Testa Jr., is named to oversee the airport.

Jan 16: Airport officials confirm that the state Attorney General's office has contacted them and that a criminal investigation is under way.

Jan. 20: Three part-time employees at the airport resign after airport officials find that they had been working in departments managed by relatives.

Jan. 29: Airport board taps Eric J. Frankl, then head of the Toledo, Ohio, airport, as interim executive director.

Wednesday: Luallen releases a scathing audit, describes "possible criminal activity." Airport board approves changes in expense, auditing and ethics policies.

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