Group Sues to Stop Use of Public Funds to Promote Development of Airport

JULY 28, 2001

A group opposed to building an airport at a defunct Marine Corps base filed a lawsuit Friday against its opponents, accusing Newport Beach officials and others of illegally using public funds to pay for a pro-airport campaign.

The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court, seeks to stop the city and the Airport Working Group from spending public money on the airport campaign and recover money already spent.

A majority of county supervisors support turning the site at El Toro into a commercial airport that could handle 18.8 million passengers a year by 2020.

Opponents say an airport is unsafe and unneeded. They have proposed alternatives for the site, such as creating business and residential developments and building a park. El Toro, adjacent to the cities of Lake Forest and Irvine, was a Marine base from 1943 until it closed last year.

Source: Associated Press, in The Sacramento Bee