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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Documents link Sansom, Odom, airport



Although college officials dispute it, public records show that the airport facility Northwest Florida State College plans to build with tax money secured by House Speaker Ray Sansom is the same hangar Sansom's friend wanted for his jet business.

Sansom, R-Destin, says critics are unfairly blurring the lines between the two airport projects. But interviews, planning documents from the city of Destin and the college, and e-mails between developer Jay Odom, Sansom and the school show inextricable links between what Odom requested and what the college is now planning to build.

• Destin city officials have only one approved site plan for the location, the one submitted by Odom. That plan refers to the space set aside for the college as a "hangar."

• Odom's development company worked as a go-between for the college with the city to ensure the school could use Odom's development order. The college must still submit building plans.

• The college's own plans refer to Odom's project and call for an extra thick floor for "aircraft storage."

• A city official and the manager of Odom's private jet company said the proposed two-story college building is part of Odom's plan to block noise from nearby homes, mitigating a problem that nearly prevented Odom from building on the airport site. (story here)

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:10pm]


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