CHARLOTTE, NC – City leaders announced Monday a wide-ranging audit of Charlotte Douglas Airport. The investigation will review accounting, FAA reporting and compliance, revenue tracking processes, and leases by governmental and non-governmental agencies on airport property.
In a letter to the Mayor and City Council, City Manager Ron Carlee said city staff had found “missing, incomplete, inconsistent and/or inaccurate information” regarding airport operations.
Three properties on airport land sparked the review: the Animal Care & Control Facility, Police Helicopter Hanger, and Fire Station 30.
Carlee said FAA records for the properties conflict about payments made by the city and total acreage at each site.
“I think there was a lack of diligence,” he said.
Interim Airport Director, Brent Cagle, said he thinks the audit will reveal other longstanding issues.
“I think other issues may arise,” said Cagle.
The audit comes amid a legal fight for control over Charlotte-Douglas Airport. The NC General Assembly passed a law months ago that would create an independent authority that would oversee airport management.
The law stipulates longtime airport director Jerry Orr would serve as director under the authority.
The City removed Orr as the bill became law.
City officials bristled at the suggestion the audit was an effort to smear Orr’s performance at the airport.
“I'm not digging around, trying to find out what Jerry did wrong,” said Cagle.
So far, Carlee said the city has not reached out for information.
Late Monday afternoon, Orr denied any inconsistencies in the airport’s records.
“Ask the questions, and give me access the records, and I'm quite certain I can answer them satisfactorily,” Orr said.
Still, proponents of the airport authority will likely be pleased that the audit may suggest what they’ve always maintained; the city shouldn’t be in the business of running Charlotte Douglas.
“Everyday I’m not there to run the airport, is a day lost,” said Orr.