Airport's FBO vacates terminal

Published 4:04 am Wednesday, March 12, 2003

By By MIKE VOSS, Contributing Editor
Jerry Toms apparently no longer serves as fixed based operator for the Warren Field Airport, which is owned by Washington and Beaufort County.
R.L. Willoughby, Washington's city manager, said Tuesday that Toms "voluntarily left the terminal building" but continues to operate his business, East Carolina Helicopters, at the airport. County Manager Don Davenport said it's his understanding that Toms had "put a notice on the door he was vacating the terminal."
It is unclear when Toms vacated the terminal, or who may replace him as fixed base operator.
Attempts to contact Toms on Tuesday evening were unsuccessful. He did return one phone call to a Daily News editor, leaving a message on that editor's voice mail when the editor was at Warren Field.
A visit to the terminal building at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday revealed the building's doors were locked and inside lights were off. There was no sign of activity at the building, but there was no sign posted on any door.
Hours of operation posted on two doors indicated the building is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Willoughby said the Warren Field Airport Commission is making arrangements to provide fuel for the airport's air traffic. As fixed base operator, Toms sold aviation fuel for the airport and, basically, ran operations day to day.
Earlier this year, Toms accused the Airport Commission of unfair treatment and disparities in his lease agreement and other lease agreements framed by the commission. An official with the state Division of Aviation essentially cleared the Airport Commission of wrongdoing in a Feb. 20 report, though the official did make some recommendations, responding to a complaint by Toms.
Late last month, Carol Williams, finance director for the City of Washington and clerk to the airport commission, said Toms owes $9,450 in rent. Toms' lease agreement with the commission allows him to use a corporate hangar occupied by East Carolina Helicopters.
In late February, Toms said the rent the commission says he owes is "a legal issue." Toms said then he had retained three attorneys. "The legal issue is what am I supposed to be paying for and what am I receiving?" he said. "And I won't get into that," he said at the time.
News Editor Jonathan Clayborne contributed to this article.