Florence airport sued by the United States

The Florence Regional Airport is fighting a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. for overpayment of rent to the airport.

The lawsuit was filed last April.

Court documents show the U.S. had a lease agreement for 1,000 square feet of office space with the airport for the Transportation Security Administration.

The government says it was to pay the airport $18,400 a year for the space, but due to a mistake, paid that amount per month. Documents say the U.S. overpaid $1,074,732.29 to the airport.

The complaint says the U.S. has reasonably relied on the airport to repay the excess money, but it has refused to return the funds.

The U.S. is seeking repayment with interest, attorneys' fees and court costs.

Federal court documents say the Florence Regional Airport says it was advised by the U.S. that the rent amount in the original lease agreement and all renewals was too high. It says the U.S. advised the airport the amount of rent would be reduced by 50%, and the U.S. prepared and sent another lease renewal document which included the reduced rental amount. Court documents say the airport executed the lease agreement with the reduced amount of rent and returned the lease document renewal to the U.S.

Airport officials argue the U.S. stopped paying rent due to the airport altogether. They say the U.S. breached the lease agreement and all renewals by virtue of its failure to pay rent to the airport, while at the same time continuing to occupy the leased space within airport's terminal building.

The airport says it has suffered damages in the form of lost rent by virtue of the breach of lease agreement.

The Florence Regional Airport filed a counterclaim saying the U.S. has committed breach of contract. It says the airport entered into a binding contract with the U.S., and airport officials agreed to supply aircraft fuel to U.S. Military aircraft. Court documents say the U.S. agreed to reimburse the airport for the aircraft fuel provided, but airport officials say they were never reimbursed.

The airport is asking to be awarded judgment against U.S. on its counterclaims, all costs and attorneys' fees as well as court costs.

This case is expected to head to trial in August.

On Monday the airport's executive director, Hartsell Rogers, resigned.