Turf Wars At Oshkosh Airport

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The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has waded into a simmering dispute between tenants and the management of Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. Basler Flight Services complained to the department's Bureau of Aeronautics claiming a competitor, Orion Flight Services, is getting preferential treatment from the airport by getting time to pay back rent and because it hasn't lived up to a clause in its contract to build a 10,000-square-foot building to house all its business activities. But the bureau said other tenants -- including Basler -- have been cut slack by the airport in the past and the dealings with Orion aren't any different. Basler President Rod McNeil called the report "a farce." In response to the clamor, Airport Director Ruth Elliot has negotiated a payback plan with Orion that will see the company pay interest on the $30,000 in back rent and fuel fees it owes. But Elliot says she doesn't want to take a hard line with companies that are doing what they can to live up to their obligations. "I would hope I don't have to come across as all business, no feelings, no heart," she told the Northwestern newspaper. Others would like to see a little more backbone at the top. "I expect contract to be a contract," said Sonex President Jeremy Monnett. "If I sign a lease to pay X amount of rent, the least the county should expect is I pay it on time." See you in July, folks.