In the wake of former Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) Chair Vicki Tigwell's attempt to keep her deposition off the public record until after the election, the MAC has submitted a Motion to quash depositions of Commissioners, former Commissioners, and its General Counsel. in the Class Action suit over noise mitigation pending in District Court. Depositions and discovery were scheduled to be completed next week.
“Even if the Motion is denied by the Court, we suspect it serves a purpose.” according to South Metro Airport Action Council (SMAAC) President Jim Spensley. “By delaying testimony until after the November 7 General Election, the MAC shields Governor Pawlenty from implication in the MAC’s decisions to cut back on legislatively mandated and previous agreed upon mitigation of airport noise, air, and water pollution.”
MAC engages outside Counsel to deal with various issues, preventing public disclosure by attorney-client privilege, as argued in the Motion. Plans and concessions dealing with Northwest in bankruptcy, which may be even more politically volatile, are conducted in off-the-record Executive Sessions of the Commission.
“Northwest Airlines Executives and PACs have been more than generous contributors to Pawlenty’s campaigns. Apparently, the Governor does not want his MAC appointees to be deposed before the election.” Spensley noted. “We surmise this is because it would, at least, open the door to additional allegations of political considerations and influence.”
Neighborhood residents brought the Class Action suit after the MAC revised its residential sound insulation program in separate actions in 2002 and 2004. MAC is also being sued by Eagan, Richfield, and Minneapolis in an attempt to have the Court enforce their interpretation of agreements made in 1998 with the MAC. Bloomington also is suing MAC in an appeal of the MAC’s denial of a Supplementary EIS related to more than expected overflights from new Runway 17-35.
SMAAC, a citizens’ watchdog organization, is not involved directly in the litigations and does not endorse or contribute to political campaigns.