"Man camp" opponent filing complaint with Ethics Board - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

"Man camp" opponent filing complaint with Ethics Board

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(Theresa Schmidt / KPLC) (Theresa Schmidt / KPLC)
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CARLYSS, LA (KPLC) -

The West Calcasieu Airport Managing Board has approved a controversial lease to allow a worker village in Carlyss. And the board heard concerns about a potential conflict of interest involving one of its members.

"You got people out in the hall who can't hear or see or nothing," complained one of the people crowding into the small board meeting room early Monday morning.

Even as they packed them in, not everyone who came for the airport board meeting could fit into the room, but the chairman denied a request to move it elsewhere. 

It was a special meeting to re-do action on a lease with First Flight Holdings to allow what some people call a man camp. But this time, the board allowed people to comment.

"No matter what revising you do amongst you all and them the reason I think everybody's here is we don't want it at all," said resident Charlotte Goodfriend.

Much of the public comment was actually questions lodged by resident Mary Ellender.  She asked, "who will be managing the man camp?"  

"First Flight," responded chairman Dalton Langford.

Opponent Barry Badon asked them to seek an opinion from the Louisiana Attorney General on whether Langford has a conflict of interest because he owns an aviation company at the airport.

"Chairman Dalton Langford is co-owner and operator of D and S Aviation Inc. A Louisiana company," Badon said.

Since the board did not address the issue, Badon said he'll file a complaint with the Louisiana Ethics Board. Badon said it's a strategic move, not intended to question Langford's character.

"I assured everyone that I'm not calling his integrity into question. It's just a procedural thing and we're making sure that proper laws are being followed," Langford said.

Langford said the corporation is to protect personal assets from lawsuits. He said there is no conflict of interest.

"We don't make any money and we rent a hangar from the airport. We don't get any special consideration from the airport so it's simply a corporation to protect us personally," explained Langford.

The board approved the lease with the same vote as last time. Next stop for First Flight and interested citizens -- a zoning hearing when the Calcasieu Planning and Zoning Board will decide whether to grant an exception for the temporary workforce housing facility that is Moss Lake Village by First Flight. 

The zoning board has the final say on whether an exception should be granted. The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17 at the Calcasieu Government Building.

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