Pilot Files Suit Against Airport
June 5, 2013
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  • It was a phone call to Forest City’s First National Bank that Russell Hyde’s lawsuit alleges went too far.

    “What happened that day is he went to the bank by phone, identified himself as an Airport Authority member and demanded personal information about my bank accounts, loan information, account balances and anything to do with me at the bank,” said Hyde.

    Hyde runs a business out of the Rutherford County Airport – and says it was Airport Authority Vice Chair Keith Hunter who put pressure on the bank agent.

    “He was raising his voice and she said almost yelling at her on the phone, that he was on my deed of trust and needed this information,” said Hyde.

    Airport Director Bob Howard – named in the lawsuit with Hunter – has said the call was part of an effort to organize airport documents to determine who exactly owned what property.

    Hyde’s suit alleges invasion of privacy and conspiracy.

    “It’s the end of the rope, we’ve been bullied enough on the field,” said Hyde, referring to himself and other private pilots and business owners who pilot out of, or rent hangars at the airport.

    Hyde says he’s been involved with the airport since the 1970s, and the two-year-old airport administration has been pestering pilots on the field like no other administration ever has.

    “This authority has questioned insurance standards, washpits, propane tanks, fire standards, buildings standards. and every single investigation that’s ever happened has gone clean,” he says.

    Hyde estimates that 90 percent of people on the field would agree that its been a constant drum of unneccessary demands on private businesses out here, from the county-appointed board, in an effort he believes, to assert control.

    “I’m sure that if I left tomorrow, there would probably be someone opening another maintenance shop, but it would probably be under their direction,” Hyde said.

    Howard said the airport attorney has advised board members not to comment.