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Judge dismisses lawsuit against former Brooksville airport manager

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Published:   |   Updated: December 4, 2013 at 11:40 AM

BROOKSVILLE - A judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by an airport tenant against former Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport Manager Don Silvernell.

Robert Rey, owner of Jet Concepts Inc. filed the lawsuit in August against Silvernell, alleging that the former manager slandered him by calling him a "crook," someone who "doesn't pay his bills," and "financially incompetent."

Rey alleged the comments were made to resident Paul Douglas in December 2012. Douglas at the time was investigating the possibility of starting a business at the airport.

Silvernell retired in July and moved to Idaho with his wife.

Rey alleged in the lawsuit that Jet Concepts lost business because of the statements and sought monetary damages, interest, costs and other court relief.

The Hernando County Clerk of Court's office verified Tuesday that Circuit Judge Lisa Herndon signed an order Nov. 19 dismissing the lawsuit.

County Commission Chairman Dave Russell said he was not surprised.

"It was obvious that it was frivolous," he said. "(As far as I'm concerned), it was just downright malicious and obviously the judge felt the same way."

Russell believes a judge will rule that another defamation lawsuit, filed against Aviation Authority Chairman Gary Schraut, will also be dismissed.

Also last August, Schraut was sued by one of the airport tenants, Michael Honeycutt, with Worldwide Aircraft Services Inc.

Worldwide operates an air ambulance service at the airport.

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

Schraut has denied the allegations.

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