DULLES, VA (WUSA) --Angry leaders from across the region are slammed the board that runs the airports and the area's biggest construction project and demanding immediate changes.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, DC's Mayor, and the governors of Maryland and Virginia all wrote a letter to the board of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority expressing outrage about sweetheart deals and wine and dine trips to Europe.
Members of Congress say big changes are coming. And sources tell 9News Now that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be pulling together leaders from across the region soon to figure out a deal to fix the problems.
The airports board is building Metro's Silver Line, as well as running Dulles and Reagan National. A preliminary report from a federal investigator says it has engaged in all kinds of questionable deals: expensive overseas trips, no-bid contracts, nepotism, and hiring former Board members for big bucks.
The letter from the regional leaders says to the Board they're "gravely concerned" and "outraged" about the "lack of accountability," "transparency" and "sound judgement."
The letter demands the board:
Terminate no bid contracts with former employees.
Terminate former Board Members who've gotten jobs at the airports.
Tighten it's wasteful travel procedures.
Cut it's costs and open its meetings.
The Board responded with an email to the media insisting it's already implemented all those changes. But Virginia congressmen Frank Wolf and Gerry Connolly are already moving quickly to change the law that created the airports board.
"Those (problems) are easily fixed," said Connolly. "They should have been done long ago. Shame on MWAA for not doing it up to now."
Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf says the board is already ensnared in a pricey legal battle with a former board member. He says the users of the Dulles Toll Road will be paying the legal costs for both the Board and the former board member.
He says changing the Board may be one bill that can make it through a gridlock Congress. "This has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat. It's ethics and morality, making sure you don't have people there traveling to worldwide places. Exorbitant liquor bills."
Control the board, he says, or we'll all be stuck with the bill.
Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com