City of Palmer (Alaska) Pays $857,000 False Claims Settlement Regarding Usage of Airport Funds
On May 13, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Palmer, Alaska (city), settled a qui tam civil action resulting in the city paying $813,000 to the U.S. Government and $44,000 to the qui tam complainant for his/her expenses associated with filing the action. According to the complaint, the city made false claims on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant applications by attesting that it would collect rent at fair market value for the lease of airport property for non-aeronautical uses, which is required by FAA rules.
The DOJ intervened in this qui tam civil action following an investigation by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (OIG). The investigation confirmed that the airport failed to collect rent at fair market value for airport property that was used for non-aviation purposes, such as for a municipal golf course and little league field on airport property.
This investigation was conducted by the OIG, with assistance from DOJ.