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2 decide to forgo flight school


Published: Mon, March 20, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


Commissioner Tsagaris said he still wants to discuss a board reorganization.
By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The two Western Reserve Port Authority members who said they had a financial interest in flight schools at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport have decided to get out of the flight-school business.
Joe Maxin Jr., the port authority's chairman, said he is writing a letter to Mahoning County commissioners indicating he has divested of Cortland Air, a flight school hoping to begin operations at the airport next month.
Mike Hillman, owner of Cortland Air Co. and Holding Corp., said Maxin, Michael Harshman and he decided over the weekend to take the action.
As a result, Hillman said he would form a new corporation called Western Reserve Flight Center Inc., and find new investors to take the place of Maxin and Harshman.
"It's a shame. Joe [Maxin] is a great instructor and he feels that with all of the controversy he can't even instruct on the field," Hillman said. He expects the new incorporation and attempt to find new investors will set back the flight school starting date by a couple weeks.
Maxin said he also plans to divest of his interest in Am Air, the other flight school at the airport.
"I still don't believe there is any conflict of interest," Maxin said of his involvement in the two schools. He has been a flight instructor and part owner of Am Air for many years, he said.
Commissioner's statement
The divestment follows a statement by Trumbull County Commissioner James Tsagaris last week that he thinks board members have a conflict of interest and should resign. In fact, Tsagaris said he would like to see the entire board removed and some other type of leadership installed.
Reached Monday, Tsagaris said the divestment isn't changing his mind about wanting to find different leadership for the airport, saying he thinks Maxin and Harshman would still have a conflict of interest after the divestment.
Tsagaris said he plans to sit down with Mahoning County commissioners as soon as the Federal Aviation Administration completes an investigation of the relationship between the port authority and the two fixed-base operators: Winner Aviation and ReadyAir.
Tsagaris said the two counties need to decide at that time what is best for the airport. It is not known when the FAA will report in the matter.
Maxin, a Boardman attorney, was appointed to the board by the Mahoning commissioners. Harshman, the board's secretary, also an attorney, is a Trumbull County representative. The board has eight members.
runyan@vindy.com


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