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Airport Spending

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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