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Unnecessary airport grab costing big bucks

So, the state and city are spending a boat load of taxpayer cash – close to $1 million and counting – on a fight over control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport that didn’t have to happen.

Who knew?

We’d say most anyone who was observing this wasteful boondoggle orchestrated by unwise, meddling, power-grasping N.C. lawmakers. This editorial board noted early on that the state’s strong-arming to wrest away control of the Charlotte airport was wrongheaded. We agree with city attorney Bob Hagemann that “the whole effort by the legislature was unfair and not needed.”

Even GOP Gov. Pat McCrory belatedly acknowledged last month that the city should retain control and ownership of the airport. It might not have made a difference, but we wish he had spoken up during the legislative session when his fellow Republicans in the legislature were blindsiding Charlotte city leaders and ramming through troublesome, unnecessary legislation.

Only the city has revealed exactly how much money it has spent on legal costs to stall the state law passed in July that would shift control of the airport from the city to a new commission. More than $397,000 was spent on work from outside law firms. The commission wouldn’t disclose how much it has spent, but its legal bills are expected to be similar in size. What the new commission chairman, Robert Stolz, would say is this: “The amount of money being spent on this situation is outrageous.”

We agree. If we could, we’d give the legal bills to state lawmakers and make them pay them out of their pockets. They created this mess.

But we can’t. State lawmakers should have reversed course. There are much better ways they could apply a half million dollars – paying teachers adequately comes to mind.

But absent that, Stolz has the right idea. “What we need is for people to sit in a room and resolve this thing.”

Man sues ‘dating’ website for aiding cheating spouse – really?

It was a titillating read in the Observer on Friday: A Charlotte man is suing an online dating service for helping break up his marriage.

Sure, he’s suing the man involved with the tryst with his now ex-wife, but he’s aiming for the big bucks in his alienation of affection lawsuit against the web site Ashley Madison that urges clients to have an affair. According to a 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek profile, Madison’s parent company was expected to rake in $20 million in profits that year.

Robert Schnidler asks for damages of more than $10,000 in two lawsuits.

Suing a “dating” service for the break-up of a marriage might seem a bit far-fetched. But who knows? Juries in this state have awarded huge sums in these kinds of cases – $9 million against a mistress in 2010, $30 million against a mistress turned wife in 2011.

It’s a bit surprising that alienation of affection laws are even still around. North Carolina joins only six others – Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota and Utah – hanging on to them. N.C. lawmakers in 2009 shielded businesses from such lawsuits because experts said office affairs had become so common. The break-up of the Schindlers’ marriage began in 2007, so his lawyers say they still have a case under the old law.

Stay tuned for the outcome.

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