Airport reimbursements mount | Arkansas Blog

Airport reimbursements mount

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Ron Mathieu, executive director of the Little Rock National Airport, has now reimbursed the airport for more than $3,000 in questionable expense account charges.

We reported on-line Friday that Mathieu and other airport officials had begun making reimbursements in a review of expenses that followed Arkansas Times' disclosures about Mathieu's expenditure of $40,000 on a football field fund-raising drive at his child's school, Little Rock Christian Academy, and his and other officials' heavy use of credit cards for meals and other expenses.

Friday, we told you that Mathieu had reimbursed almost $1,800, including about $400 for a birthday dinner with Airport Commissioner Jesse Mason at Arthur's Prime Steakhouse and more than $700 for a dinner at Ruth's Chris steakhouse in Rogers, which Mathieu said he inadvertently charged to his airport charge card in October.

Today, we reviewed documents that showed Mathieu also reimbursed the airport $795.06 for his wife’s meals in Maui last January at an annual airport industry conference and in San Diego in September. She was accompanying her husband on the business trips. He also reimbursed the airport $407.79 for meals in Brussels, Belgium, in June that he said were probably not business related.

In light of the scrutiny of the spending at the airport, Mason and fellow Commissioners Virgil Miller and Tom Schueck also have decided not to attend the Airport Issues Conference in Kona, Hawaii, this January. “Going to Hawaii in January just doesn’t look good to people,” Schueck said Monday. He said he dropped out after seeing e-mails that indicated Miller and Mason would not attend. Airport spokesman T.J. Williams said Monday the airport was reimbursed $8,021.73 for the plane tickets it had purchased. In keeping with airport policy, first-class tickets had been purchased for the commissioners because the flight was longer than four hours.

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