The second round of the legal fight over Charlotte Douglas International Airport will be Thursday morning, as the city of Charlotte seeks a preliminary injunction in Mecklenburg County Superior Court to stop a newly created commission from running the airport.
The city has said the General Assemblys bill to create a 13-member airport commission is unconstitutional and will cause irreparable harm to the city. The city likely will raise Federal Aviation Administration concerns about who will hold the certificate to operate the airport the city or the commission.
An attorney for the commission, former mayor Richard Vinroot, has said in a court filing that the citys objections are utterly baseless.
He said Monday the city is still in control of the airport.
Under the commission legislation passed last week, the city will still own Charlotte Douglas. But the commission will operate the airport, awarding contracts, hiring and firing the executive director, and charting expansion plans.
The City Council and mayor would appoint seven of the 13 members.
The Democratic-controlled City Council and the GOP-dominated General Assembly have fought over the airport since January.
The first bill passed by the legislature removed the airport entirely from the city, placing ownership and operation in the hands of an authority. The city on July 18 sued to stop the authority. It received a temporary restraining order in Mecklenburg County Superior Court.
One of the main parts of the citys argument against the authority is that it would have jeopardized roughly $800 million in outstanding airport bonds.
After the city laid out its legal case against the authority, the General Assembly repealed the authority and replaced it with a commission. The commission keeps ownership of the airport with the city, a move designed to ease questions about airport bonds.
Mayor Patsy Kinsey and the City Council had proposed in July a commission similar to the one created by the General Assembly. But under their plan, the city would have appointed all commission members. In addition, the city hadnt said specifically what decisions it would delegate to the commission.
Its possible Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin wont issue a ruling Thursday.
If the city loses its request for a preliminary injunction, the City Council and mayor could decide to appeal. If the city wins Thursday, receiving the injunction, its possible the issue wouldnt be settled until what could become a lengthy trial.
Longtime Aviation Director Jerry Orr is the head of the airport commission though he isnt working at the airport, which is still in city control. Brent Cagle is interim aviation director.
Orr was removed from the airport July 18 when the authority bill passed. City Manager Ron Carlee said Orr sent him a letter that day announcing that he was leading the authority and had resigned from the city.
Orr has said it wasnt his intention to leave the airport.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less