The FAA has demanded that the city of Chicago pay a $33,000 civil penalty for destruction of Merrill C. Meigs Field (CGX). The agency also is investigating an allegation that Chicago officials illegally diverted $1.5 million in funds from O”Hare (ORD) to pay for the destruction of Meigs. Such money is supposed to be used for airport improvements.
The waterfront airport was destroyed two years ago when Mayor Richard Daley ordered heavy equipment to carve large Xs into the runway under the cover of night, rendering the airport useless and stranding the airplanes based there.
The FAA and numerous aviation advocacy groups protested the sudden closure. The FAA noted that federal law requires at least 30 days notice before any airport can be closed. The city became liable for civil fines because of the failure to provide that notice. Chicago officials plan to appeal the fine.