DALLAS — Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority chairman Denny Granum resigned from the board amid an FBI investigation of fraud.
The resignation of Granum, the longest-serving member of the airport authority board, follows the board's December firing of the airport's director of aviation Rex Tippetts a month after FBI and U.S. Department of Transportation agents executed a search warrant of airport financial records.
In a letter addressed to Mesa County Commissioner Steve Aguafrescas on Friday, Granum wrote that he was stepping down because "it is important that all interested parties understand that whatever problems are at the root of the federal investigation, they are being addressed, and the appropriate changes are being made."
"I am committed to supporting such necessary changes going forward-whatever they may be. But I also recognize that because of my long standing on the board, some in the public may doubt that I am capable of being impartial in these matters.
"My resignation from the board may help remove any such doubts and ensure that the internal investigation, and the changes which will flow from it, are viewed by one and all as wholly independent and not tethered to the past."
Mesa County, which includes Grand Junction, has put up a job posting for the former chairman's job, but officials said they are not yet actively searching for a new candidate.
Granum abstained from voting on Tippetts' firing in December, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel newspaper. Granum's resignation also follows a federal civil suit against Tippetts and the board by the airport's former security coordinator, Donna VanLandingham, who maintained that Tippetts fired her in 2011 for threatening to speak out about alleged fraud, possibly involving a security fence around the airport, the Sentinel reported.
Granum operates a hangar at the airport, according to the Sentinel. He was first appointed to the board in 2006 to complete a term left vacant.
The airport authority board has hired an expert attorney to conduct an internal investigation and is planning a forensic audit of the airport's accounts.