Ontario International Airport

Passengers check in at an empty Terminal 2 at L.A./Ontario International Airport on Wednesday. (Will Lester — Staff Photographer)

By Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 10/31/14, 10:40 AM PDT | Updated: 1 min ago

RIVERSIDE >> Los Angeles has the deed for L.A./Ontario International Airport, but now the question is whether the city’s 1985 acquisition followed proper public procedure.

Riverside Superior Court Judge Gloria Connor Trask asked attorneys for Ontario and Los Angeles on Friday to submit briefs on whether the nearly 30-year-old agreement, because it is being classified by L.A. as a sale, needed to go to the public for a vote.

Trask delayed her decision at Friday’s court hearing, saying she wants to hear from both sides by Nov. 14. She will then issue a decision or call for another hearing.

The sale of the airport was approved by a 4-0 vote of the Ontario City Council in 1985. It was never put up for a vote to Ontario residents.

“It couldn’t be a valid sale because the rules weren’t followed under the Government Code and the Public Utilities Code,” said Andre Cronthall, the attorney for Ontario. “The Government Code requires, with respect to the sale of an airport, that there has to be an ordinance that has four-fifths of the legislators vote and it has to be subject to a referendum – a public vote.”

The question about the process of the airport sale was a new argument that Ontario raised at Friday’s hearing. Trask reminded Cronthall, “This is a new argument that the court is not prepared for it.”

Scott Lewis, attorney for Los Angeles, said the 1967 agreement did not need to get voter approval because Ontario’s council signed off on an agreement.

Ontario has sued to regain control of the airport.

Los Angeles filed a motion in September trying to remove portions of the suit, arguing that the statutes of limitation of rescission and reformation is three years, and Ontario’s claims are more than 40 years late. Attorneys for L.A., in documents filed with the court last month, argued it was a sale.

To read entire story, click here.