Agents of the FBI entered the administrative offices of Grand Junction Regional Airport on November 7 and seized approximately 100 boxes of airport records dating from 2009 to the present. To date, neither the bureau nor the U.S. District Attorney’s Office has given a reason, and a federal judge has sealed court records of what airport authorities assume is a federal investigation.
“We have been in contact with the FBI and the U.S. District Attorney and they have refused to comment,” said Denny Granum, chairman of the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority. Meanwhile, he added, independent legal counsel has been hired to conduct a separate investigation, “to see if we can find any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the authority or any individual associated with the authority.”
However, a story appearing online in Moody’s Investors Service on November 11 said it was “widely reported” that the federal investigation involves financial fraud. Granum said the airport is continuing normal operations, despite a hold being placed on anticipated federal grants. The airport authority plans to spend as much as $180 million on an administrative building, terminal, runway, taxiway, drainage system and other projects through 2023.
The airport authority had been in negotiations with West Star Aviation, an airport resident providing FBO and other business aviation services, to build an $8 million paint facility. The agreement, now on hold, calls for West Star to build the paint shop and the airport to issue $8 million in bonds to fund purchase of the shop for lease back to West Star.