Danbury, Norwalk Still Owe Portions Of Legal Fees
You have to pay to play... but at
least one Connecticut community appears disinclined to put any more
of its money where its mouth is in suing the Federal Aviation
The Danbury News Times reports the cities of Danbury and Norwalk
are both late in their payments towards legal fees stemming from a
highly publicized 2007 lawsuit against the FAA over the agency's
plan to reroute commercial air traffic over lower Fairfield
As ANN reported, 13 Connecticut communities
joined in the effort... which has made little apparent progress to
date in changing the FAA's mind.
Norwalk still owes about $68,000 of the amount it committed to
the effort. Ridgefield official Rudy Marconi, who is also chairman
of the Alliance for Sensible Airspace Planning, sent an email this
week to Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia requesting payment, so the
group could make an obligatory payment to the law firm retained to
fight the proposal.
"Our contract with McDermott, Will and Emory was signed by each
community individually, and therefore the financial obligation is
between that community and McDermott, Will and Emory," Marconi
wrote. "The pressure is upon us to respond."
Marconi said Tuesday the e-mail was "a simple request. I hope
everyone understands I asked as diplomatically as possible."
Diplomacy or no, Moccia appears genuinely concerned about the
status of the lawsuit. Asserting that some of the money had already
been paid, Moccia added he's awaiting "feedback on how the funds
already paid were spent.
"We're still not sure about the status of the lawsuit," he said,
adding Norwalk "can't afford continuing rising costs" stemming from
the legal effort.
"We're hoping the state will pick up the balance of the cost now
that the Attorney General is involved," Moccia added, though he
wouldn't say whether he plans to pay the $68,000 fee.
As for Danbury, Mayor Mark Boughton says his community will make
good on the $70,000 balance of $125,000 the city committed to the
alliance... "but after that, we aren't contributing any more."
The FAA wants to significantly alter approach and departure
routes from New York area airports, in a desperate effort to cut
down on delays. The proposal -- which the FAA asserts will save
200,000 hours in delays annually by 2011 -- would shift aircraft
arrivals for LaGuardia eastward from flights over Westchester
County, NY to Fairfield County, according to legal challenges by
the communities affected.
While Boughton asserts his community is behind the effort to
reduce noise overhead from passing airliners, he believes the
lawsuit is "top-heavy on lobbyists and overhead, which, quite
frankly, we can't afford right now."