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May 18, 2022

USDOT-OIG Received Complaint Filed Against Springfield Airport Board Member; Diversion of Revenue –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On January 18, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) –

A formal complaint was fielded by the United States Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General in December of 2021.

The complaint alleges the following:

  • Mr. Tim Franke is a former employee of the Sangamon County Airport Authority
  • Franke is a current commissioner of the authority
  • Franke was appointed as commissioner by Springfield Mayor Langfelder
  • Franke repeatedly violated the FAA’s policy and procedures concerning use of airport revenue
  • FAA policy prohibits leasing of property and facilities for less than fair market value
  • FAA policy prohibits making airport owned property available at no charge to other units of local government
  • FAA policy prohibits making airport owned property available for community, other units of local government, or other co-sponsor use for less than fair market value
  • Franke retired after 30 years of employment with the authority as Director of Public Safety in 2018 and appointed as commissioner by Mayor Langfelder in 2019
  • While employed, Franke was in charge of airport operations including law enforcement, rescue, and firefighting functions
  • Franke, at no charge, made the airport’s public safety building and airport-owned hangars available throughout the year to the City of Springfield Police Delartment for storage of their mobile command center, lake patrol boat, and other City of Springfield Police Department equipment, which resulted in revenue diversions from the airport.
  • This occurred for numerous years
  • The airport lost revenue as a result of Springfield not paying fair market value rent for property they were utilizing
  • Lost revenue is estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars
  • Staff were fearful of reporting it out of their fear of retaliation
  • Franke’s appointment to the board of commissioners appears to be a quid pro quo for the free rental space in prior years

The FAA was asked to investigate this complaint to protect the airport authority and its staff from further abuse and mismanagement by Franke.

If what was alleged in this complaint is true, we believe state law violations may have also occurred, and prosecution should not be ruled out as an avenue to obtain justice for the taxpayers of the airport authority. This should include forcing the city of Springfield to pay rent for the space they used, times however many months they used it, plus interest.

SCAA-Diversion of Revenue Complaint

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1 Comment
  • Golden Country
    Posted at 09:47h, 19 January

    While it appears FAA policy was violated the question is why this practice was not uncovered in previoys USDOT audits.?
    IMHO Sangamon County and Springfield LEO should be billed for the cost of storage.

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