Wait, 220 card holders used to get free parking at the airport?

The free parking work perk is over.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport ended years of free parking privileges under the “teal card program” that Charlotte politicians, government officials and business leaders have enjoyed. Card holders totaled 220.

Why the change?

To clarify, the free parking program was a holdover from former aviation director Jerry Orr, who was in charge of Charlotte Douglas from 1989 to 2013. After an audit, with finances reviewed by consultant McGladrey, it was agreed in 2014 that free parking should only be reserved for “airport-related business.”

Also, there were a significant number of outstanding cards, even when the card holders no longer had the jobs that initially gave them access to the cards.

So, most of the cards were revoked.

Why it matters now

Steve Harrison at the Observer got a list of the 220 card holders. They included: all City Council members and county commissioners, several members of Congress, former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and the Charlotte Chamber.

Back to civilian parking fees for all!

In other headlines…

– The 121 West Trade Street office building was sold for $71.6 million to Lincoln Property Company on behalf of a pension fund client. The building is 32 stories tall, topped with the Charlotte City Club.

– Charlotte restaurant chain Queen City Q announced that it will no longer sell beers associated with Anheuser-Busch InBev. Meaning: No more Goose Island, Budweiser, Corona or Shock Top, among other icy bevs. The reasoning: AB InBev is supposedly rewarding distributors who focus on its beers while limiting supply from craft brewers.

– The Charlotte City Council voted to accept a $612,922 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to focus on anti-gang efforts. What a lot of the money will funnel into: 26 cameras to help monitor areas of suspected gang activity.

– Beware of the triple ginger threat. Trader Joe’s announced a recall late yesterday of Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Brew after reports of unopened bottles exploding. The good news: You’re eligible for a refund.

– Did you miss Tuesday’s deadline to enroll in health insurance plans through the Federal Health Exchange, or renew them? Next option: Enroll or change plans for new coverage by Jan. 15 for your plan to start Feb. 1. #adulting

Photo: Diedra Laird