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I-Team: Where’s the money? What we found at local airport

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CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating what’s happening at the Cuyahoga County Airport that has left taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And we’re asking what are local leaders doing about it?

The questions revolve around the main company helping to run the Cuyahoga County Airport.

The county confirms Cleveland Jet Center owes $290,000 in rent dating back to 2014 and 2015. All that back rent owed even as the company makes money selling fuel and other airport services. And, this comes to light at a time when many homeowners expect property taxes to go up.

The I-Team went inside the main building for Cleveland Jet Center, the general manager wouldn’t explain. She said, “OK, you know something? I don’t want to address that with the cameras here.”

So how did this happen? How did the county leaders let the company get that far behind on payments, and, let it go on for years? Now that we've started investigating, taxpayers are wondering too.

Fay Harris, an activist, watches local government and taxes. She said, “Somebody should be held accountable for that.” She added, "You can go after the property owners, but not go after these large businesses that need to pay their fair share. That's what it’s all about.”

A spokesperson says the county is pressuring Cleveland Jet Center to pay up. We’re told, oddly, the company is up to date on current rent. And, after all this time, the company now has only until December 23 to pay back those big bills from three and four years ago. If not, the company could lose its lease.

Still though, no explanation from the county how things ended up this way.

The general manager at the company told us to leave, or she would call the police. She said, "There is no problem here at the Cleveland Jet Center. And we are gonna go on, and we're gonna run this business."

We’ve learned the county has also looked into having other companies possibly take over at the airport.

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