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Court clears Huron County commissioners, finds against airport

Scott Seitz2 • Sep 17, 2013 at 9:07 PM

The Sixth District Court of Appeals in Toledo has issued a decision on a public records case involving Huron County entities.

The court ruled the Huron County commissioners had responded to public records requests made by Tod Wagner in a lawsuit against the county. It also decided the Huron County Airport Authority had failed to produce public records pursuant to his request.

Wagner had asked the Huron County commissioners for certain records, including emails about the airport. The court of appeals found that the commissioners had timely responded to the requests for documents made to the commissioners by Wagner.

Wagner had also requested from the Huron County Airport Authority a large number of records. He did not receive copies of reports of the level of fuel in the fuel tanks and copies of audio tapes of airport authority meetings, according to a press release included in the court's ruling.

The court found that after Wagner made his request for fuel level records, the airport authority adopted a policy to destroy these records after three years, but that the records had already been destroyed when the request was made.

The court also held that Wagner had properly asked for audio tape recordings of the airport authority meetings and returned the case to the trial court to determine if those tapes were properly requested from the airport authority.

The court also ordered the trial court determine damages and attorney fees which Wagner can collect for the airport's failure to turn over the fuel level reports.

Dennis Sokol, chairman of the airport authority at the time of the requests, had no comment on the court's ruling.

Don Frankenfield, current airport board chairman, spoke about public records policy and the court's ruling.

"It is the policy of the airport to timely provide public records to anyone who requests them," Frankenfield said. "The fact that this was not done in the past is another example of the poor management by the former airport authority membership.

"I only hope that the damages assessed will not impact the operation of the airport," he added.

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