Judge tosses suit in Charleston airport board case; appeal expected
A judge has dismissed a suit brought against lawmakers serving on Charleston County Aviation Authority, according to court documents.
Circuit Judge Markley Dennis said the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. He did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit, which challenges the constitutionality of certain lawmakers sitting on the 13-member airport board.
“I think there is a 2,000 percent probability there will be a notice of appeal,” said Ed Sloan, a retired paving contractor behind the S.C. Public Interest Foundation, who brought the case to court with Charleston attorney Waring Howe. Howe once served as chairman of the airport board several years ago.
They sued Rep. Chip Limehouse, House Speaker Bobby Harrell, both of Charleston, and others, alleging, among other things, that the General Assembly violated the Constitution by passing legislation specific to one county.
The law, co-authored in 2007 by Limehouse, placed the chairman and vice chairman of Charleston County legislative delegation on the Aviation Authority. Limehouse has alternately served in both capacities for several years. Harrell was sued because of his position as Speaker of the House.
The defendants’ attorneys argued Howe and the S.C. Public Interest Foundation did not have legal standing to bring the suit because they were not directly affected by the law.
Sloan lives in the Upstate. Attorneys claim Howe, as a county resident and taxpayer, had no basis to sue because the airport receives no county taxes.
It does receive federal funding and levies bonds to cover its debt.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.