Former Foothills Regional Airport employees will plead guilty to embezzlement

"I just hate it for the airport really," authority Chairman Wayne Abele said. "It's something that nobody would have known about...It's a shame. Full Story

Boone, NC

#1 Sep 16, 2012
Chairman Wayne Abele said:“It’s something that nobody would have known about…". "...we’re glad some closure is being reached on some part of this,” Vinay said.

I certainly hope nobody is thinking about sweeping this under the rug! At the VERY least, the Airport Authority board needs to be replaced entirely. It was THEIR responsibility to oversee the operation. As early as 2007 and continuing right up until the FBI raid, MANY current and now-former tenants at the airport tried to warm them (the Authority board members) that Nelson and his cronies were being dishonest in several ways, but the warnings fell on collective deaf ears. This is the result.

The TAXPAYERS of Burke and Caldwell counties, the TAXPAYERS of Lenoir and Morganton (they get it twice - county and city taxes), the TAXPAYERS of North Carolina, and the TAXPAYERS
of the entire U.S. lost. Not only was THEIR money stolen, but all the OTHER TAXPAYER money that had to be spent investigating the crime, chasing down the criminals, and prosecuting them.(Yes, all that money belonged to the TAXPAYERS, not the Foothills Regional Airport Authority or any of the other government entities.) And, its still not over so more of the TAXPAYERS' money is being spent. In addition, several DOZEN individuals and companies moved their aircraft and businesses away from the Morganton-Lenoir airport due DIRECTLY to the dishonesty of Nelson and his cronies. A rough yet conservative estimate of the property, sales, and business tax loss alone is $10 MILLION dollars. The loss of direct spending into the local economy significantly harmed the well-being of the taxpayer population as well.

All those business jets you've heard the officials say use the airport: Well, 90% of them do NOT land at Morganton any more. They land at Hickory, Jefferson, Wilkesboro, Statesville, Johnson City TN, etc. instead. Yes, Nelson and his staff ran them off as well.

Abele, Hullette, Gibbons, and the rest of the Authority board should be removed from office IMMEDIATELY for cause -- that cause being dereliction of duty while serving as an elected or appointed official of a government body. They let Nelson and his cronies do this, they were the board's employees. The board is responsible. They should have known better, but they turned a blind eye and refused to see even when warned.

Morganton, NC

#2 Sep 23, 2012
Maybe the airport will go belly up. I think that would be funny!!!!!!

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