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Port Authority Pays $150K to Settle with ADI

VIENNA TOWNSHIP Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority will pay $150,000 to Aerodynamics Inc. to settle litigation over its brief service at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

The $150,000 payment represents less than half of the $305,675 Aerodynamics Inc., also known as ADI, sought from the airport in subsidies from when it provided daily scheduled service between the regional airport and Chicago.

“This is a ‘handshake, part ways, we all move on with our life,’” John Moliterno, the port authority’s executive director, said following this morning’s meeting of the WRPA board of directors.

The port authority, which operates the regional airport, filed suit last April against ADI for breach of contract, fraud and other counts. It claimed that ADI falsely claimed it had entered into interline agreements for the period it was providing flights.

ADI, which provided the local service as Great Lakes Jet Express, filed a counterclaim for the airline subsidy money it was to receive for providing the flights. The service started July 1, 2016 and ended a month and a half later when the port authority board cancelled the subsidy to ADI based on low passenger counts, how fast the airline was going through subsidy money and the failure to secure interline agreements for connecting flights.

At this morning’s meeting, the board looked at the settlement agreement and felt it was better for the port authority, the airport and the community to proceed with it, rather than pursue “what could have been a very lengthy legal process,” Moliterno said.

“It’s a fair settlement,” he remarked.

“We are doing what is best for the Valley,” Martin Loney, port authority chairman, affirmed in a news release issued following the meeting. Allowing the case to continue indefinitely doesn’t advance WRPA’s mission to promote aviation and economic development in the area, he said.

“We’re meeting them less than halfway,” Dan Dickten, director of aviation at the airport, said.

The port authority will be able to apply for reimbursement of 65% of the $150,000 it is paying ADI out of its Small Community Air Service Development grant.

Under the terms of the settlement, the port authority will pay court costs related to the case, and both parties will withdraw their litigation and pay their own legal fees, Dan Keating, attorney for the port authority, said.

Keating and Moliterno did not expect legal and court costs to be much higher than $15,000, though they did not have an exact figure available this morning. “It’s not a prohibitive amount of money,” Moliterno said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.