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City Owes $6 Million To FEMA For Airport Snow Removal

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Mar 26, 2013 8:20PM

Once again, Chicago is forking over money because of a Daley-era deal. A judge ruled Monday that the city must reimburse the federal government $6 million for the cost of snow removal at the airports in 1999 and 2000.

A 2003 audit showed the city spent $7.8 million to clear snow at O'Hare and Midway airports, and the Federal Emergency Management Association reimbursed 75 percent. However, the city leases space to the airlines, which forked over $5.2 million to the city for the same services. FEMA found this to be a duplication of benefits.

U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle sided with the federal government, saying national and international airlines can properly be considered “disaster victims due to a snow emergency in Chicago.”

The Emanuel administration said the $6 million settlement will come from airport funds.

“This case was regarding the use of FEMA funds for snow removal at the airport more than 10 years ago. And while the court ruled that FEMA emergency funds could not be used, the court also recognized that the City’s use agreement with the airlines requires them to pay for snow removal costs,” Law Department spokesman Roderick Drew said in a statement.

This is the second time in a week that the city lost dough to a Daley deal. Last week a court found the city owes a downtown parking garage $57.8 million due to a legal mishap.