by Max Brantley
I've added some info to an earlier item about the disclosure that Airport Commissioner Carl Johnson was seeking to land a minority contractor portion of the airport's concession contract. Incoming Mayor Mark Stodola provided some additional info about his remarks at the meeting after Commissioner Larry Lichty suggested that Johnson should leave the room when the minority contract was being discussed (though not up for commission action). Stodola, who remains airport legal counsel, said the city attorney would have to provide a legal opinion, but said Johnson's disclosure of his interest complied with existing ethical requirements and that nothing pending before the board required Johnson to absent himself. But he said he had told Johnson at the meeting that he should not ask questions on the matter, given his personal interest.
Stodola said, too, that he'd never had a formal attorney-client relationship with Johnson in the doctor's golf course scrap with former Hog basketball star Darrell Walker, only an informal one, though he was identified in press accounts as Johnson's lawyer.
Finally, Stodola said it had always been his firm's intention to cease representation of the airport as soon as a replacement firm is hired. He said there will be loose ends to tie up in some pending litigation, but that the firm, as a matter of professional responsibility, couldn't simply cease representing the airport.
So, there. But it's still a good illustration of how political this commission can be and the interlocking relationships that emerge so often in city government. The sooner Stodola no longer handles city-related business the better for appearances. The sooner Johnson leaves the commission the better for appearances. He's fatally compromised himself by the ill-conceived idea to seek business with an agency he supervises.