Taxpayers may soon find out if the state is going to get back nearly $400,000 in grant money it says Sisters Eagle Airport misused.
It’s about time. It’s been almost a year.
The Oregon Department of Transportation said in a March 21 letter that Benny Benson, the airport’s owner, improperly spent some of the grant money he received for runway and airport improvements.
For instance, the state alleged Benson and others received a total of $215,436 from the grant that they were barred from receiving.
We checked in with ODOT last week on the negotiations to resolve the issue.
ODOT said this week: “ODOT has always taken concerns over the Connect Oregon-funded Sisters Airport projects very seriously. We’ve been operating in good faith to try to negotiate a settlement in this matter as quickly as reasonably possible, while also being thorough. While we can’t provide a specific timeline, we believe we will know the next step in this matter in the near future. We will issue a news release at that time.”
The public deserves to know why the negotiations took so long, what — if any — interest will be paid on any money owed and what mistakes ODOT made — if any — in its allegations of misspent money.