Sunday, March 23, 2014

Foothills Regional Airport (KMRN), Morganton, North Carolina

Sentenced former manager of Foothills Regional Airport files appeal

MORGANTON, NC — The former manager of Foothills Regional Airport has filed an appeal in his case.

Alex Nelson was sentenced Feb. 25 to three years in federal prison for conspiracy, embezzlement and money laundering. Nelson received three years of supervised release when he gets out of prison as part of the sentence. Nelson also will pay $179,781.51 in restitution, with $129,781.51 going to the airport and $50,000 going to the N.C. League of Municipalities.

When he was sentenced, Nelson was told he had the right to appeal his sentence within 14 days.
Nelson is one of three airport officials who have pleaded guilty in wrongdoing at the airport. Brad Adkins pleaded guilty to conspiracy and embezzlement on the same day as Nelson — Sept. 24, 2012. Adkins has not been sentenced yet.

Nelson said Friday he filed the appeal to have it review by an appellant court attorney. The case is appealed to the Fourth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

“I’ve got questions about the process,” Nelson told the Daily Record.

He said if the attorney reviews the case and finds everything satisfactory then he will withdraw the appeal.

Nelson signed the appeal pro se, meaning he is proceeding with the action without an attorney, according to the US Court of Federal Claims website.

Nelson is out on bond. At his sentencing in February, Nelson was not taken into custody and was allowed to self-report to prison.

Nelson said he was sorry and he accepted responsibility for what happened on his watch.
Reidinger said, however, Nelson was treading awfully close to denying his part in the crimes that occurred at the airport.

The federal government revoked the bond of Brad Adkins and he has been held at the McDowell County jail. Adkins faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

No sentencing date has been set for Randy Hullette, former chairman of the board of Foothills Regional Airport, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement and witness tampering Aug. 21. He faces a total maximum sentence of 30 years. No presentence investigation report on Hullette has been filed yet, which is required before sentencing.

The FBI raided the airport in June 2012, seizing files, records, computers, log books and other information. The warrant included records from the airport involving Nelson, Adkins and Hullette defrauding the airport of at least $100,000.

The warrant also called for seizing any files, records or information related to Hullette Aviation, Burkemont Service Center, RANMAC Inc., Jeffrey Rose, Grady Rose Tree Service, Jimmy “Ron” Gilbert, Gilbert Grading and Construction, Simon Roofing and Parton Lumber.

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