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East Hampton can use airport revenue to pay for legal fees in aviation lawsuit

Molly Ingram

A Suffolk County Supreme Court judge will allow the Town of East Hampton to cover its legal fees with revenue from its airport. The town is defending itself from a lawsuit that accuses it of ignoring environmental regulations when East Hampton Airport was briefly shut down, to later reopen it as a private facility.

To avoid using taxpayer dollars, the town has instead been using airport user fees to pay its legal council.

The judge denied the litigants — who are private jet companies and Hamptons aviators — for a motion that would have required the counsel to return any money that came from the airport fund after May 2022.

He cited a Federal Aviation Administration rule that says that airport revenue can cover legal costs as long as the fees support airport operation.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.