Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/29/2011 06:08:54 PM PDT
It is too early to speculate on what steps the San Bernardino International Airport will take to find a new top executive, officials said Thursday.
“The board needs to agree upon a process and define the skills we need for this interim director,” said San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, who presides over the SBIAA board.
Airport director Donald L. Rogers resigned Wednesday from the San Bernardino International Airport Authority and Inland Valley Development Agency boards under the cloud of an FBI investigation into airport operations.
Rogers, who earned between $12,000 and $15,000 a month, initially submitted a resignation letter in April, saying he would leave by Aug. 31.
“The airport is finally really ready to be used by wide body aircraft,” Rogers wrote in the letter. “I anticipate scheduled airline service before the end of this year.”
Rogers has praised Texas-based Hillwood Investments and its redevelopment efforts around the airport, including distribution centers for Kohl’s, Mattel and Pep Boys.
Morris said because airport redevelopment includes the surrounding area and its transportation and business needs, the airport authority needs a director who has led a public organization with a diverse set of assets and investments.
“It’s not just the airport,” Morris said. “We’ve got major transportation infrastructure that surrounds the airport and penetrates the airport and these are all projects we have going on.”
The FBI raided the airport on Sept. 21, serving seven search warrants at the former Norton Air Force Base and at the rented Riverside home of airport developer Scot Spencer. They are looking into possible mail and wire fraud, bribery, conspiracy and money laundering, and theft and fraud related to federal funds.
FBI agents took computers, cell phones and other records.
According to the warrant, investigators are attempting to document a relationship between Spencer, Rogers, Morris, airport Aviation Director Bill Ingraham, Assistant Airport Director Mike Burrows, former airport director Thomas “T. Milford” Harrison, and South Carolina-based aircraft materials company Tiger Enterprises and Trading.
The investigation follows the June 30 release of a blistering civil Grand Jury report that questioned the airport’s financial management, saying the SBIAA entered into multiple contracts with Spencer, a convicted felon who has served time in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud and has been “banned from the aviation industry.”
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