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City of Homer threatens to sue aviation company

Posted: July 30, 2013 - 12:00am

HOMER — The city of Homer is threatening to sue Grant Aviation for back rent after the company pulled out of the city earlier this year.

The company was four or five months behind on rent when it left in February and owed the city about $20,000, city manager Walt Wrede told KBBI.

“We thought that things were going well for them here,” he said. “We found out about them leaving through the newspaper. They didn’t contact us ahead of time to let us know.”

He said the city is preparing a lawsuit after several unsuccessful attempts to reach company officials. “They’ve been unresponsive so they’re leaving us with little choice,” he said.

Representatives of Grant Aviation, which has operated in Alaska since 1971, did not respond to KBBI’s request for comment. The company, according to its website, owns 20 small aircraft and operates in Alaska communities including Anchorage, Kenai, Bethel, Dillingham and Dutch Harbor.

Grant Aviation had been operating out of Homer for about three years when it left. The company also pulled out of Valdez in February.

Wrede said the city hasn’t sued yet and it holding out hope it won’t get to that point. He says the departure of Grant Aviation, as well as two of the airport’s three car rental agencies, has left a hole in the budget for the airport terminal.

In February, the city of Kenai secured a judgment in state court for more than $56,000 in terminal lease payments and landing fees owed by Grant. Kenai City Attorney Scott Bloom said Grant has been making installment payments since the judgment but is still behind.

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