Fight for airport expansion documents continues in court - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Fight for airport expansion documents continues in court

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An unidentified witness takes the stand during Wednesday's hearing. Source: WBRC video An unidentified witness takes the stand during Wednesday's hearing. Source: WBRC video

A hearing was held today over a lawsuit surrounding continued requests for documents pertaining to the Birmingham airport terminal expansion project.

The quest for the documents comes after a 10-year-old boy was killed after a freestanding flight status cabinet fell on top of him and his family March 22 in the new terminal.

Documents already obtained by FOX6 indicate that contractors had concerns about the safety of the cabinets like the one that fell. Head contractors Brasfield & Gorrie/BLOC have also said that the airport authority was not aware of these concerns.

Wednesday's hearing focused on whether the documents requested are actually public documents and whether the Airport Authority has possession or access to those documents.

Attorneys for the authority say they have turned over all documents that they have and are trying to be transparent in this matter. They feel repeated requests for the documents is based on a false sense of urgency by the media.

But part of the media's urgency, including FOX6 News, is that tax dollars helped pay for part of the airport expansion. Therefore, the media feels that these issues deal with public safety and the public has a right to the documents.

Attorneys for both sides were unable to have all of their witnesses appear today. Another hearing is scheduled for May 1.

Airport Authority chairwoman Gaynell Hendricks released this statement Monday regarding the document requests:

The authority has and will continue to make records and information available to the media. Some documents were not released immediately because we will not jeopardize operations by haphazardly responding to requests that could potentially violate federal or state laws.

Also some of the requested information was held by our general contractor and architect, and not the Airport Authority.

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