Red Flag

By Liset Márquez
Posted: 02/15/16, 9:55 PM PST |

ONTARIO >> City leaders are criticizing a councilman for tying a campaign fundraiser with the public’s first opportunity to meet Ontario International Airport Authority’s new executive director.

The event, scheduled for Tuesday, is billed as Councilman Alan Wapner’s 17th annual business roundtable luncheon, where attendees pay anywhere from $1,000 for membership to $5,000 to be an event sponsor.

Kelly J. Fredericks was named the authority’s CEO last month and will make an appearance at the campaign fundraiser set up by Wapner, who also serves as the OIAA president — in other words, his new boss.

The event invitation encourages those who want to honor “the local control of ONT” to fork over $2,500, with checks made payable to Wapner for Council 2014. Wapner isn’t up for re-election until 2018.

“I thought it was very distasteful,” said Sam Crowe, the former Ontario councilman and city attorney who negotiated the 1967 deal between Ontario and Los Angeles, handing control of the airport to an outside agency.

Crowe said the airport authority should have language in its ethics code that addresses what he perceives as a conflict of interest.

Officials in Ontario had long claimed Los Angeles had mismanaged the agency, claiming it was the reason traffic activity had drastically declined. Last year in an agreement with Ontario, L.A. agreed to hand over control of the airport to the OIAA, which is comprised of officials from the Ontario City Council and leaders in San Bernardino, Riverside and Oranges counties.

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