LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — 6/4/2020 6:11 p.m. UPDATE: In a 23-page letter written to the Federal Aviation Administration from the former Greenbrier Valley Airport Manager, Greenbrier County Commission President, Lowell Rose, was mentioned.
One of those allegations claims Rose paid well below fair market value for a piece of property he reportedly leased on airport industrial park. We were shown paperwork indicating Rose paid $50 a month for that property staring when the lease was signed in 1987.
“The way they set their leases up: you lease the property very cheaply, whether it was inside of the fence on the airport grounds or outside of the fence,” Rose said. “You leased a property at 50 dollars a month. But you had to do all the improvements, build the buildings, everything and at the end of your lease, that equity went to the airport.”
Rose said he paid out of pocket to build the building, he also had to put in electric, water, sewer, and gas.
The former Airport Director, Stephen Snyder, said there was a point in 2006 when the board wanted to raise Rose’s rent to a thousand dollars a month.
“He spoke out against that and said it would be way too much and the lease continued to be 50 dollars a month until, with FAA Authority, I terminated the lease in 2015 and 2016,” Snyder said.
Rose said he did think a thousand dollar price surge in rent was too much at one time. He added the members of the Airport Authority voted on the rent and set it at $300 per month.
Rose said the property was appraised for $270,000 after his improvements.
This is just one of the allegations against Commissioner Rose mentioned in Snyder’s letter to the FAA.
“It’s been investigated by two state troopers. It’s been investigated by the FBI. It’s been investigated by the IRS,” Rose said. “It’s been checked into by the State Attorney Generals Office. And every one of them has said it’s not prosecutable. Yeah, things weren’t done properly, maybe. But there’s nothing to prosecute.”
LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — 6/2/2020 6:26 p.m. UPDATE: On May 6, 2020, the former director of the Greenbrier Valley Airport, Stephen Snyder, sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, outlining 33 allegations against the Airport Authority spanning nearly two decades.
“I am proud to be the person who sent the… complaint,” Snyder said. “I take full responsibility for everything in the document. I lived it. I was there for four and a half years, and as comprehensive as that document may be, it still only includes the things that fall under the statute of limitations for the FAA.”
The 23-page document outlined what Snyder said are “numerous accounting problems and revenue diversions within the organization.”
Greenbrier County Commissioner Mike McClung, who sat on the Greenbrier County Airport Authority as the County Commission Representative, said several employees were trying to move the investigation along when they were let go from their positions.
“Suffice it to say, there are apparently people that did not want any investigation to go forward,” McClung said. “I was removed from my seat on that board. The chair was removed from his seat… and Stephen Snyder was removed from his employment.”
Snyder added he was told by people investigating the 33 allegations they felt pressure to close it.
“Within only days of my turning over boxes… of evidence that support the allegations… I was dismissed without notice,” Snyder said. “Without consult, and with no reason given.”
As for his motivation in sending the letter, he said he isn’t after the director’s job. He claimed he saw wrongdoings within the airport authority and had a duty to report those incidents to the FAA.
Greenbrier County Airport Authority Chairman, Deborah Phillips, said they are cooperating with the FAA on this investigation, but does not anticipate any findings of wrongdoing.
LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — 5/28/2020 6:26 p.m. ORIGINAL STORY: A former Greenbrier Valley Airport employee sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration outlining 33 allegations against the Airport. Now, the FAA is investigating.
Deborah Phillips, Chairman of the Greenbrier Valley Airport Authority, said they are cooperating with the agency.
“We have received a letter from the FAA and we’re in the process of complying with their request,” Phillips said.
Allegations against the airport include transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars without board approval and using airport funds for personal use.
On May 12, 2020, the FAA sent a letter to the current Airport Director, Brian Belcher, requesting 13 different documents relating to the allegations. The deadline to get those documents to the FAA was supposed to be June 12, 2020, but that date was extended to July 27, 2020.
“We’re going to respond to everything the FAA wants, give them the evidence, give them whatever documents that we’re aware of, and our lawyers will respond to those assumptions that may not be valid or have evidence to substantiate them,” Phillips said.
Phillips explained this process will be costly to the airport since attorney fees come out of the airport’s budget. That means projects may not be completed during the investigation process, but they will be able to continue operating as usual.