Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/17/2012 11:48:58 AM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – Airport officials can terminate their contract with a company tied to embattled airport developer Scot Spencer for failing to maintain minimum fuel reserves for aircraft, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday.

SBD Properties LLC has until 3 p.m. Tuesday to appeal San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Brian McCarville’s decision, otherwise the San Bernardino International Airport Authority will take over management of the airport’s fuel farm.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed with today’s ruling and we are considering our legal options,” said Coby King, spokesman for San Bernardino Airport Management, the umbrella corporation that owns SBD Properties LLC.

Both the corporation and SBD Properties are managed by Spencer and T. Milford Harrison, the airport’s former executive director. Spencer’s and Harrison’s names appear jointly on multiple company filings doing business at the airport, all of which are under investigation by the FBI.

Federal agents are investigating allegations of criminal conspiracy, bribery, mail and wire fraud and money laundering. Spencer and Harrison have been implicated in the investigation, as well as Mayor Pat Morris, who chairs the Airport Authority board, and other airport officials.

McCarville dissolved a temporary restraining order against the Airport Authority on Friday, granted on Feb. 10 at the request of SBD Properties, which argued that the Airport Authority’s actions were inappropriate and the agency should have initiated legal action instead of terminating its contract with the company.

Scot Weber, an attorney representing SBD Properties, called the Airport Authority’s actions “Draconian.”

Weber told McCarville that the fuel farm was the primary source of revenue for SBD Properties, and painted a fatalistic picture should the company not be allowed to continue managing the fuel farm.

“It could put (SBD Properties) out of business. It’s going to put people out of work,” Weber said.

In her opposition filed with the court, attorney Karen Feld, who represents the Airport Authority, said the only one standing to suffer irreparable harm is the Airport Authority.

“The purpose of a commercial airport is to allow aircraft to land, fuel and take off,” Feld said. “If there is no fuel, aircraft will not use the airport, and the need for an airport would cease to exist.”

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