April 28, 2010 Edition

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Airport Commission meets
regarding Morgan Buildings

Morgan Buildings, located at the Walnut Ridge Airport, has enormous amounts of sheet metal and other items that will need to be removed when Morgan moves to another location, which it plans to do by October. Some of the metal was scattered by storms over the weekend.
Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Airport Commission held a special meeting Tuesday morning to discuss their leases with Morgan Buildings.

The business said they are currently experiencing a cash flow problem and plan to move to another location by October.

According to the commission's records, Morgan has not paid its rent since December, and now owes between $10,000 and $12,000. Included in that amount is the insurance the commission pays for Morgan for which Morgan is supposed to reimburse them.

Morgan Buildings has been located on property leased from the airport for 30 years, but has let the commissioners know they plan to vacate the premises by October. Morgan has two or three leases with the airport commission, two of which have expired.

Now that they are over 90 days in arrears, the commissioners have asked Attorney Dick Jarboe to go over the leases Morgan signed to see what the default clauses will allow them to do about collecting back rent and cleaning up the property once the business moves. The commissioners are concerned they will be left with a huge cleanup to pay for if Morgan's doesn't clear the property they have occupied before they leave.

"We need to know what action we can take to protect our financial interests," said Commission Chair Hal Lady.

Also, during the severe storm on Friday evening, Runway 13-31 had to be shut down for a day-and-a-half because sheet metal and debris from Morgan's was scattered over the runway. An attempt to contact Morgan to clear the debris on Friday evening was unsuccessful. The commission had to pay personnel to come in and clear the runway, a cost they want Morgan to reimburse.

Commissioner Dan Coker told the commissioners, "We can't enforce one lease out here and not another. All leases have to be enforced."

Lady told the commissioners, "We need to know our options concerning the default clause and what legal rights we have to collect back rent and get the property cleaned up if they move away and leave it for us to deal with.

"As soon as Jarboe gets us the legal information we need to proceed, we will hold another special meeting if needed, or will finalize plans at the next regular meeting."

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