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Sterling Employment Law

More controversy on Detroit Metropolitan Airport board

Once again, the Detroit Metropolitan Airport Authority has found itself embroiled in controversy.

Last time, it concerned the dismissal of our client Turkia Awada Mullin, the former CEO who claims she was wrongfully terminated. This time, it concerns former chairwoman Renee Axt, whom the Detroit Free Press is alleging failed to disclose potentially important conflicts of interest. Certain disclosures from airport board members are required by law so that there is no impropriety, either in appearance or actuality.

According to the newspaper, Axt failed for years to disclose the she funs a consulting firm that lobbies for government contracts and that one of the firm's clients received a contract which the airport authority approved. She also neglected to mention that her brother works for her Wayne County and that her sister works at her lobbying firm.

Axt has said she simply forgot to disclose the information. She recently resigned from her position, citing personal reasons. She made no comment to the Detroit Free Press for the article that made these accusations. In September 2009, however, Axt did disclose that her brother worked as a part-time baggage handler for United Airlines. That was determined not to represent a conflict of interest.

Disclosure requirements, particularly for high-ranking employees, can be hard to navigate because it is not always immediately clear what needs to be divulged and in what level of detail is needed. Nonetheless, these need to be handled carefully because filling them out improperly can have very serious repercussions. This is why many people seek the guidance of employment law attorneys; getting questions answered ahead of time can sometimes save a lot of trouble and expense later down the line.

Source: The Detroit Free Press, "Ex-chairwoman of Detroit Metro Airport board didn't disclose conflicts of interest," John Wisely, Jennifer Dixon and M.L. Elrick, Nov. 27, 2011

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