Thursday, January 30, 2014

Clay Center Municipal Airport (KCYW), Kansas

Former, present airport managers suing each other

Spicer asks for more than $500K in damages; Heinen Bros. seeks three-months hangar rent, repairs

Heinen Brothers and the Clay Center Municipal Airport have filed a civil lawsuit against former airport manager Mike Spicer, and the company he operated under charging damages related to aircraft left at the airport.

Spicer has counter-sued Heinen Brothers and is asking for more than half a million dollars in damages.

The civil case in the Clay County District Court started when Heinen Brothers filed a complaint last fall seeking rent for two T-hangars from May through July 31, 2013 the removal of two Beech aircraft parked at the airport and “the cost of repairs to physical damages” at the airport.

Spicer filed an answer Sept. 10 stating he had a long-term agreement for lease of the hangars, that he was not in default of payments, and sought three-fold damages for a third aircraft and other property destroyed or removed from the hangars he was renting.

Spicer claimed he is not responsible for any repairs and sought an additional $75,000 in damages. He amended his answer early this week asking for $500,000 and adding “abuse of process” among the claims against Heinen Brothers.

Spicer also alleged in the first answer that the awarding of the airport manager and fixed-based operator contracts to Heinen had been done through fraudulent means because the company did not intend to fulfill those contracts or lacked the capacity to do so. He claimed the new owners are in breach of obligations required by those contracts, including properly staffing the airport, providing services to the public including fuel, flight training, mechanical services and other aviation services.

Spicer also claimed Heinen Brothers are in violation of the Kansas Anti-Trust Act and other statutes pertaining to airports because they are “attempting to destroy competition at the airport by granting exclusive rights to itself.”

Airport violations Spicer alleged in his response including allowing Heinen pilots to fly approach entries in a careless and reckless manner in violation of Federal Aviation Administration regulations, allowing aircraft to run unattended with small children in the area, causing chemicals and contaminated water from spraying operations to spill at the airport, nearly colliding with a student in training under Spicer, providing false information to the public, and violating a grant agreement with the FAA.

Heinen Brothers filed answers denying all those claims and have amended their answer. There have been several court appearances and conferences on the case since September.

A request to send the case to trial has been submitted, but is not on the docket because the latest amendment is waiting review by a district judge.


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