Aviation authority board chairman to evaluate more allegations

By Matt Tomsic
mtomsic@scbiznews.com
Published Aug. 8, 2013

The chairman of the Charleston County Aviation Authority board plans to evaluate allegations that board members used their influence to try to have the airport hire friends or relatives.

The information came out during a two-hour meeting on July 23 between former airports Director Sue Stevens, board Chairman Andy Savage and attorneys for both Stevens and the airport. During the meeting, Stevens gave Savage her resignation. A week later, the aviation authority board voted to offer Stevens’ job to state Sen. Paul Campbell.

“The new information isn’t really new information,” Savage said. “It was old information that was provided to me during the course of that two-hour meeting, and then it was provided to me in writing.”

Savage said Stevens also notified him of a campaign contribution to one of the board members, and the chairman plans to look into that as well.

Savage has also investigated accusations of board members influencing who was hired by Michael Baker Corp. to work on the terminal redevelopment project, and that investigation didn’t find any improprieties, he said.

Savage said the new allegations were “very nonspecific” and occurred more than a year ago.

“They’re very generic from my viewpoint,” Savage said, adding it’s still best to have someone look into them.

Savage said he’s now considering who to tap to evaluate the allegations and determine whether the authority needs to launch an investigation, and he’s looking for an agency separate from the authority for the work.

“I’m not interested in ruining people’s reputations and accusing people of wrongdoing and just naming people that need to be evaluated,” Savage said. “If somebody has done something wrong, I have no problem dropping a dime on them.”

Reach Matt Tomsic at 843-849-3144.

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