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Blue Grass Airport Head Suspended Over Spending

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The executive director of Lexington's Blue Grass Airport has been suspended indefinitely while officials review his spending practices.

The airport's attorney, Tom Halbeib, said recent media reports raised questions about executive director Michael Gobb's expenses.

"The airport board intends to continue its ongoing review of these questions and to cooperate with the Auditor of Public Accounts," he said.

The Lexington Herald-Leader published articles last month that showed Gobb spent more than $200,000 for trips and other expenses from January 2006 through March 2008. The newspaper also surveyed travel and training expenses at other airports with similar passenger counts and found Gobb's expenses surpassed all of them.

Halbeib said Airport Board Chairman Bernard Lovely met with airport staff Tuesday morning to give them the news.

Gobb said he was told of the suspension on Friday.

"They said it was indefinite ... really it's an administrative leave for an indefinite period," Gobb told the newspaper.

"I appreciate the ongoing support of the airport board and the community leadership as we work to ensure a transparent review of
airport policies and practices," Gobb said.

Gobb was suspended with pay.

The airport board intends to hire a consultant to review policies and practices, and the state auditor's office will examine the airport's finances. Blue Grass Airport is a public, nonprofit corporation run by a board appointed by Lexington's mayor.

Gobb's travel expenses were on top of his salary of nearly $220,000 a year, plus benefits that include unrestricted use of an airport SUV, free gas, home Internet and cell-phone service costing more than $6,000 a year, and club memberships.
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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,
http://www.kentucky.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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