Friday, May 5, 2017

Dare’s Airport Just Another Big Headache, 1948

The Coastland Times, Manteo, N.C., published Friday, May 7, 1948

Commissioners Set About Collecting $1,600 Rent Due Dare County; Has Cost of $10,000

The million dollar airport given Dare County by Uncle Sam and in which the county has invested $25,000, plus another $10,000 in upkeep since it got it, including $5,000 for insurance, continues to bring more headaches as the Commissioners puzzled this week about how to collect the $1,600 that is now due in rent.

The county needs the money, but the airport is leased to the Roanoke Island Airport, a corporation headed by Theo. S. Meekins, and A.A. Lewis of New York. The rent hasn’t been paid since October, 1947, and there is $25 a month due the county. Mr. Lewis, who owned much of the beach front in Dare County, is reported to have died several days ago, his affairs are in the hands of Atty. W.A. Worth of Elizabeth City, and the county needs the money. The corporation’s only asset is the lease it has from Dare County and the commissioners are considering the cancellation of this lease if the rent is not paid.

Mr. Meekins appeared before the Board this week and said he was willing to be rid of the whole business. The airport is subleased to the Ocracoke-Manteo Transportation Company, which has refused to pay their rent because Mr. Lewis demanded $2,000 of them to get out of the picture. In the meantime, Attorney Martin Kellogg, a nominal stockholder in the lessee company, has been asked to confer with Mr. Lewis’ attorneys with a view in effecting a settlement, and it looks like a possibility of the airport getting into litigation which can be long-drawn-out and expensive to the county.

Like so many things intended to benefit the county, the airport through political machinations becomes another liability for the time being, for the $5,000 paid out for insurance last year came from the taxpayers, and that was $5,000 less for the schools or something else.

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