Airport ordinance backers: Opponent doesn’t have best interests at heart |

Airport ordinance backers: Opponent doesn’t have best interests at heart

Proponents of a revision of the airport weight ordinance are accusing a business owner of using his clout to force the county to buy him out.

Soar Minden owner Tony Sabino confirmed he suggested the county settle for $850,000 during negotiations in a threatened lawsuit.

Sabino said that if the county bought him out he wouldn’t have any reason to publicly oppose the ordinance because he would be out of the equation.

“I’ve had 22 years of grief from the county, and over the summer, they illegally closed my fuel business,” he said.

He said an airport ordinance revision currently under consideration by the county would eliminate his business.

As part of negotiations, he told the county that if they purchased his business he would go away. Sabino, who has operated Soar Minden for 20 years, has made no secret that he believes passage of the airport ordinance will end soaring at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

“If I’m going to go on with the business I’m going to do whatever I can to fight this after the deceitful way the government has acted,” he said. “I’ll be damned and gone to hell if I’m going to let them put this lie forward to the people.”

Sabino said he has always opposed removing the weight limit from the ordinance or moving his business to the east side of the airport.

“I was always opposed to the ordinance,” he said. “But if I was going to be bought out then I would no longer have an interest in the airport. I’d still be opposed, but I wouldn’t be advertising my opposition.”

In a letter posted online by ordinance proponent Al Browne that was written to Sabino’s attorney Jim Hales, Assistant County Manager Steve Mokrohisky called Sabino’s proposal inappropriate and unethical.

“Your client has every right to take whatever position he desires on public issues,” Mokrohisky said. “However, your client’s repeated threats to oppose a public policy issue unless the county agrees to buy out his business are highly inappropriate and unethical. The two issues are separate and should be treated as such.”

The letter dated Aug. 25 said it was hand delivered to Hales. Copies were also provided to County Manager Michael Brown, Assistant District Attorney Michael McCormick and ABS Aviation Management’s Bobbi Thompson.

“I’ve given to this community for 22 years,” Sabino said. “I chose to live next to the runway for 22 years. I’ve got everything bet on this. This is the community I live in and I won’t let the county do these things.”