Legal battle with Virginia cost airports authority $1.5 million

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Local,Transportation,Liz Essley

The airports authority in charge of the $6 billion Dulles Rail line paid more than $1.5 million to cover the legal bills of one of its board members who sued Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to get his job back, authority records show.

Former Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board member and union executive Dennis Martire took McDonnell to court after the governor tried to remove him from the board because of alleged conflicts of interest and extravagant spending of authority funds.

Documents show that the legal battle cost MWAA $360,000 directly, but because the authority's bylaws indemnify board members for legal expenses, the authority paid another $855,000 for Martire's legal fees, $196,000 for legal fees for three other board members subpoenaed in the case and $102,000 for legal fees for Caren Merrick, the board member McDonnell appointed to replace Martire.

Martire dropped his suit and left the board after reaching a confidential agreement with the authority earlier this year.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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Liz Essley

Staff Writer - Transportation
The Washington Examiner