The city of Paso Robles has given an eviction notice to David Weyrich, the operator of the Paso Robles Jet Center at the city’s airport.
But the Paso Robles business has refused to budge and continues to provide fuel services to the airport.
Weyrich’s refusal to be evicted prompted the city to file a lawsuit last week against him and North American Jet Charter, which is the company on the lease with the city.
On Jan. 14, the city issued a notice to Weyrich’s North American Jet Charter at the airport notifying him that he had three days to solve problems in violation of his lease or he must vacate the premises.
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Violations included not maintaining public liability and fire insurance and failing to provide aircraft maintenance and repair, all requirements of his lease signed in 2000 with the city.
Weyrich, however, insisted he has complied with all the requirements of his leases and that they remain “in full force and effect.”
“We have not been served with the (lawsuit) you referenced and therefore cannot comment on those,” he told The Tribune on Monday, adding, “The city of Paso Robles continues to cash our monthly lease payment.”
The lease payments are about $11,600 a month.
Weyrich has continued to operate the fuel concession at the airport, although the jet center ran out of fuel for a period of time during the last weekend of January, prompting an advisory by the Federal Aviation Administration to pilots that they would not be able to refuel at the airport. Without fuel, planes could have been stranded at the airport. Also, emergency aircraft, such as fire tankers, would not have had enough fuel to operate out of the airport.
“Making sure that fuel is able to be provided is a very strong concern of the city, and it has been looking into options for how it would be handled if and when NAJC is no longer there so that there is no interruption of service,” said Paso Robles City Attorney Iris Yang.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief John Richardson called having enough fuel to handle emergencies “critical.”
Although it is not fire season now, other disasters, such as earthquakes, require emergency response teams to be fielded from the airport. The airport only had a couple of hundred gallons during the January weekend because Weyrich had not paid Chevron for delivery.
“We want at least enough here to last us a day,” Richardson said. “That means about 6,000 gallons.”
Diane Clark, who flies for the CHP out of the airport, said the highway patrol saw Weyrich’s fuel shortages coming, so it had 300 to 400 gallons on reserve in one of the CHP’s own tanks.
Because Weyrich has refused to be evicted, the city of Paso Robles filed the “unlawful detainer” lawsuit, alleging he did not comply with the request to cure stated problems and reiterating that he must vacate the airport’s premises.
The lawsuit also alleges Weyrich has been in violation of the contract with the city since April 2008. At that time, he requested that he move the lease to an affiliated company, the Paso Robles Jet Center, because North American Jet Charter had gotten into financial difficulties. The city denied the request.
North American Jet Charter was a charter service with four aircraft, but Weyrich lost the planes last year to creditors holding an estimated $22 million in liens against the company. With its jets gone and its air carrier certificate revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration, the company was effectively shut down. Weyrich’s Paso Robles Jet Center became the fuel supplier, but the city refuses to acknowledge that company as the entity on the lease.
“The city determined that PRJC would not be in a position to assume NAJC’s financial or other obligations under the Lease,” the lawsuit states.
“In many cases, NAJC’s eleventh-hour attempts to satisfy various requirements under the Lease have caused great concern to Plaintiff and exposed Plaintiff to potential liability,” the complaint adds.