Friday, December 12, 2014

Madison County Journal questions airport study & Warnock's fees.

The Madison County Journal slammed the $1.2 million airport study in an editorial last week.  The newspaper said it the airport will never be built and the true purpose was to generate fees for certain contractors.  Read on.

On Monday, the ultra top secret $1.2 million airport study was unveiled and we wonder if it's just $1.2 million taxpayers are going to have to eat or will that figure be in the tens of millions.

Either way, the likelihood that an airport will be constructed in the county, as of now, is slim to none.

We still wonder if the plan would have even been unveiled if the Journal hadn't broken the story back in February - if $1.2 million would have been paid out for another plan to sit on a shelf and nobody the wiser.

Building an airport is a very expensive project, one with so many details and intricacies involved. Starting it with a top secret plan that costs 10 times what previous plans did should raise questions. But, the answers came with more questions.

For starters, MCEDA and County Engineer Rudy Warnock have said the reason for secrecy was to allow the process to continue without political and economic interference. Warnock said he was afraid of land grabs or interference from people trying to get the project put on a preferred site.

Well, they announced the top three sites so if someone wanted to try and flip some land they have plenty of time to make that happen. And, Warnock admitted during Monday's presentation that he was contacted by supervisors and MCEDA board members to look at various locations, which is why the initial search of 9 sites jumped to 17.

So much for accomplishing that goal we guess?

But the biggest issue was and continues to be the cost of the study.

In 2010, the LPA Group, a Michael Baker company, was commissioned by the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority to do a feasibility study with three possible sites, and other work. The cost - $295,860. That report, all 83 pages of it, was a lot more detailed than the slideshow presentation unveiled to the public on Monday.

It had low cost scenarios, high cost scenarios, broken down by line item. The level of detail is pretty impressive.

So, maybe that was just left out of Warnock's presentation Monday. Maybe there is another $1 million worth of detail that will be included with the detail presented. Or maybe the 77-page airport presentation had a per-slide preparation cost of $13,000?....

The question Madison County taxpayers need to be asking is what did they get with their money? According to Baker's Oak Ridge proposal, the $1.2 million could nearly have paid for an Instrument Landing System. MCEDA could have built an ILS system in the middle of a field somewhere and at least had something to show for it. Or for that matter, two T Hangars and some parking spaces.

Michael Baker, an international company that has decades of airport experience, put together a detailed, comprehensive study for an outfit in Tennessee for less than $300,000. County Engineer Rudy Warnock, who has zero experience building airports, produced a less-detailed report (at least as far as officials paying for it have been given) for four times the amount.

The FAA learned about Warnock's study in the Journal. In Knoxville, the FAA was in on the study from the start. Go figure. Rest of editorial.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

State auditor or feds will have to clean up Madison gov't, because voters happy to re-elect the grifters.

I can't believe a certain ubiquitous chap (mentioned in the post) could avoid jail if his email accounts were subpoenaed.

Anonymous said...

if this guy is the county engineer why in the crap does he get a separate fee to do a study? is that not part of his regular job duties? someone please enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

He is the county engineer that also owns an engineering firm. I suppose you can guess which firm gets all the referrals from the county.

Madison County voters seem content having their money flushed down the toilet though.

Anonymous said...

Stacey Pickersham will never go after nobody in Madison County unless it is a sanitation worker skimming choice garbage out of cans for their own personal gain.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most clear cut scams I have ever seem. FAA controls airports with an iron fist and nothing get build without its approval; so leave this agency out on purpose? I think this time somebody will end up holding the bag and get busted on this wide open corruption.This just stinks too bad.

Anonymous said...

Tax rolls seem to indicate the landowners are already in place (based on documented supporters of the current Madison County BOS) so I don't think much flipping will need to occur.

Anonymous said...

Can't possibly be happening. Republicans believe in small government & wise use of public funds. This story must be made up.

Anonymous said...

the only prison sentence he would ever see would be the interior of a 'country club' one....steal a ton of money--go to jail---golfing and hot tub? wine and steaks? yes, please

while some poor kid gets picked up for 2 grams of pot.--throw them in hinds county lockup...

Anonymous said...

These agencies are trying to grow Madison County in a positive direction. Growth doesn't come cheap.

Anonymous said...

So why would the MCEDA spend that kind of money for a study so much over priced? I know the engineer is in it for the money but why should a public agency want to spend so much more than necessary? Why does a county staffer want to part of a fraud?

Anonymous said...

People are always coming after Rudy for trying to make an honest living.

Anonymous said...

MCEDA and the BOS both have their spending approved by vote. Surely not EVERY single member would be corrupt enough to vote for something if it were under the table.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't anyone ever mention all the positive things that Rudy and his company have accomplished over the years?

Anonymous said...

All the projects that Rudy has come under fire about have been the best interest of the county/community. Do people not realize that expansion is costly?

Anonymous said...

Madison County wouldn't be one of the most aggressively growing counties in the state without strong leadership that isn't afraid of getting their hands dirty.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry...I thought the goal of a business owner was to MAKE money.

Anonymous said...

Without people like the county engineer and the board of supervisors we would all still be riding on gravel roads out here in the country.

Anonymous said...

Didn't he get investigated a few years ago by the state? According to the news there was nothing "illegal" and his rates were cheaper than most other engineers.

Anonymous said...

People are always going to want someone to complain about.

Anonymous said...

Good to have the Madison county BOS with us today.

Anonymous said...

Rudy proudly defended our country for 8 years while serving in the military. He finished up his military career with an Honorable Discharge. Integrity and honor are instilled in every soldier. I'm sure he took these values with him as well.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see someone cued the flying monkeys to descend upon this thread.

Madison County was going to "grow" regardless. People rip off taxpayers for millions & then take credit.

Anonymous said...

Are people making jokes about the "good things" the Rudy has done??

Anonymous said...

Rudy gives back to the community more than anyone knows. He is very charitable. He helps children, elderly, the homeless and anyone else less fortunate than him.

Anonymous said...

This thread is unbelievable.

Best comedy I've encountered all day and I started this morning listening to No Refunds.

Anonymous said...

Rudy loves little furry kittens and warm mugs of hot cocoa.

Anonymous said...

Hustle & Flow - It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp

Anonymous said...

Surely all of these comments are made in jest, correct? Can anyone please name some of the 'great things' Rudy has done for the County?

Anonymous said...

11:54 "He is very charitable."

I would be too if I had things like this handed to me.

Anonymous said...

He is charitable to those who "give" him contracts.I do not fault him for making money.That is his job.Those who manage the public money are at fault. They are not suppose to receive charity.

Anonymous said...

Get off your high horse, Madison is growing only because it is the next step in the march of old money out of Jackson. Just following the 50 year path up state street to Belhaven then to Eastover, then to County Line, Ridgeland then Madison. That was put in motion before anybody heard of the clowns that run the area now.

Anonymous said...

I heard Rudy rides a unicorn he rescued while serving his country and throwa gold coins to the less fortunate!! Very admirable.

Anonymous said...

Madison city of does deserve some credit.It could have been a short sighted as Ridgeland with its planning.BTW , 50 years from now there will still be an airport in City of Madison and no others in the county

Anonymous said...

Seems to me someone should check Tim Coursey with MCEDA he surrounds himself with people like David Landrum and Rudy Warnock who need the tax payers money to be successful because they can't do it on their own and Tim likes hobnobbing with them. Tim coursey is a pit faced wannabe and he runs MCEDA for personal gain with his buddies! When was the the last time MCEDA did anything to improve our area??? But they have a staff of 5 on payroll. Just a smoke and mirror agency that needs to be dissolved! It's just a cookie jar for takers of our hard earned money!!!

Anonymous said...

Tim, sounds like he will make a good fall guy for when all this starts to blow up.Just pin it all on him since he is the keeper of the public money. First I have heard this name, I be it will not be the last time.

Anonymous said...

Didn't MCEDA play a large part in Nissan and Wal-Mart coming to Madison county? These generate millions of dollars and create thousands of jobs. Tim Coursey has played a large role in several high profile projects. People always assume where there is money, there is corruption.

Anonymous said...

The fascinating thing about all these posts defending the BoS & Warnick are that not a single one states anything specific that is relevant to the issue central to the article-"Why so much?"

I'm not baiting, I really want to know. You guys above, help me out.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi's #1!

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141212/12142629419/leaked-emails-reveal-mpaa-plans-to-pay-elected-officials-to-attack-google.shtml

Reindeer Watch said...

Obviously the same person posted about fifteen times above, in support of Rudolph. Still, his nose is red.

Anonymous said...

December 12, 2014 at 1:19 PM = a great deal of accuracy

Anonymous said...

4:33 - like anyone coulda kept Walmart away from all these affluent folks? Not with a stick, even.

And I seem to recall Musgrove having something to do with Nissan. Him & lots of others.

Who killed the mayor? said...

Chill out people. Rudy got us I-55, the railroad and the Rez. Rudy personally located Madison right outside the largest city in the state. The man is a genius and he tithes 8% of all county money. Next up is a study for an NFL stadium.

Anonymous said...


county engineer career -- "Job Description: Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, and water and sewage systems. "

Don't see anything in there about contracting with the BoS to develop ridiculously overpriced studies which end up on the shelf gathering dust; nope, sure don't; maybe it needs to be updated.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this guy Rudy Dorsey Carson's big clent? Geez.

Anonymous said...

Geemanetty! I'm about to go into a diabetic coma from all the sugar someONE is throwing at Rudy. Some peeps better start getting nervous with Chris Epps behavior coming to light. Time to have greater scrutiny of how the money is doled out in MC.

Anonymous said...

I don't know squat about Rudy Warnock, but I do know its obvious this thread was high jacked by Warnock's family and employees. Is Warnock a cheapskate? Buy an ad Rudy, the blog could use the cash.

Anonymous said...

Buy an ad Rudy, the blog could use the cash.

That is a good point. He could advertise here and then Kingfish would be more prone to pull his punches.

Anonymous said...

We all know that money can buy protection for a long time from folks like the State Auditor BUT when this much disrespect for basic right and wrong comes along, look out. This feeling of being untouchable is the downfall of all this greed. Yes, someone in Madison county will be the next Chris Epps in the next few months.

Anonymous said...

12Dec 1100am, if you really live in the "country" of Madison County, you'd know there are county maintained gravel roads still. Think how much of the east end of Yandell Rd could have had the road bed reworked and asphalted. But why worry with problems we have? Fat cats need their cream.

Who killed the mayor? said...

It might not be tomorrow or next week, but some of these politicians and cronies at the Madison County feed trough are going to jail.

Anonymous said...

5:37, it won't be tomorrow, next week, or any time there is a Republican state auditor.

Unless the Feds decide to dedicate some resources. Then it'll be "That Damn Obama! Goin' after our people for nuthin'!"

Busted Pickle Jar Aisle 3 said...

I agree with 4:25 and am in full support of a study to take a look at the Yandell Road Prollems. Something's gotta be did about this! Where is 'Cleanup, Aisle 3' when we need leadership?

Anonymous said...

Pickering will do nothing. he has ties to the old boys club in Madison County. it will take the FEDS. the airport is only the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

4:35, Rudy ran as D for Mdot, so who are the "old boys of Madison county" ?

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