The flight information board in the domestic north terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 
Photo: Alyssa Pointer / alyssa.pointer@ajc.com
Photo: Alyssa Pointer / alyssa.pointer@ajc.com

FAA subpoena of Hartsfield-Jackson records on hold

City of Atlanta officials say a subpoena from the Federal Aviation Administration for airport records has been put on hold after city officials contended some records were subject to attorney-client privilege.

The FAA had subpoenaed the airport records as it prepares for an audit of the airport’s finances and investigates the potential misuse of airport revenue.

The FAA sent a subpoena to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport general manager John Selden last month seeking “any and all unredacted legal invoices paid using revenue or funds” from any airport account from October 2012 through September 2018.

Hartsfield-Jackson is one of a handful of airports across the country selected for a financial compliance review — the first such review of the Atlanta airport since the audits began in 2005.

The audit notification came after the FAA last year launched an investigation into the city of Atlanta’s possible misuse of airport revenue, following an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article that detailed how the city used millions of dollars in airport revenue to pay lawyers to respond to subpoenas from a grand jury investigation into corruption at Atlanta City Hall.

The city of Atlanta previously declined to provide the legal bills in unredacted form, asserting attorney-client privilege.

VIDEO: How much do you know about Atlanta's airport? Learn more about Hartsfield-Jackson International here.
Video: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A spokesman for Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a written statement that the city is “is cooperating with the FAA, and both parties are exploring how to address documents that may contain privileged information. Both parties have agreed to stay the return date until those issues are resolved.”

Selden said he has no estimate of how long it will take “while the attorneys are working the issues out.”

The FAA declined to comment on the matter.

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