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Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Aviation chairman hit with lawsuit


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BROOKSVILLE - A second official connected with the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport finds himself the target of a lawsuit.

On Tuesday, Hernando County Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut was sued by one of the airport tenants, Michael Honeycutt with Worldwide Aircraft Services Inc.

Worldwide operates an air ambulance service called Jet I.C.U. at the airport.

In the complaint, Honeycutt alleges that Schraut made comments to the media that his company "were troublemakers, were liars, were bomb throwers and were like terrorists."

The comments were made "to bring shame, disgrace, embarrassment (and) indignity" on the company and "negatively affect the credibility" of Worldwide, according to the suit.

Honeycutt, in the complaint, said he is seeking damages but said "such damages may also be hard to quantify."

"There is a likelihood of continuing irreparable damage and injury to (the) plaintiffs," the suit says.

Schraut could not be reached for comment.

This suit comes on the heels of another defamation lawsuit filed by Robert Rey, owner of Jet Concepts Inc., against the former manager of the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

Rey is alleging that Don Silvernell slandered him by calling him a "crook," someone who "doesn't pay his bills" and "financially incompetent."

Rey alleges the comments were made to resident Paul Douglas last December. Douglas at the time was investigating the possibility of starting a business at the airport.

Silvernell retired last month and moved to Idaho with his wife.

Rey alleges in the lawsuit that Jet Concepts has lost business because of the statements and is seeking monetary damages, interest, costs and other court relief.

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