SMO Airport Officials Accused of Conflict of Interest

 - June 24, 2014, 2:45 PM

Santa Monica Airport proponents launched two efforts yesterday that accuse city council and airport commission members of financial conflicts of interest in the city’s efforts to close Santa Monica Airport (SMO). Santa Monica Airport Association (SMAA) sent a letter to city attorney Marsha Moutrie alleging that council members Tony Vazquez and Ted Winterer, who both own homes in Santa Monica, have a financial conflict of interest with regards to votes they have made and will make as members of the city council. The SMAA letter added: “We find it troubling that these two council members with economic interests that would be furthered by closure or restriction of operations at the airport are also among the most firm supporters on the council of efforts to close or impose restrictions at the airport.”

The other move yesterday was a complaint filed by Santa Monica resident Christian Fry, alleging that SMO Airport Commission members Stephen Mark and David Goddard, who also own homes near the airport and would benefit from property value improvements should the airport close, “have used their official positions…as tools in a years-long effort to close the Airport, or failing that, to severely restrict its operations…Their financial conflicts of interest are clear.”

Airport commission chairman Goddard told AIN that Fry's complaint didn’t apply the “'Public Generally' rule which is: are the reasonably foreseeable material financial effects on the public official’s property interests indistinguishable from the manner in which the decision will affect the public generally?"