Money used for Shreveport Air Authority's local sponsorships raises ethical concerns

 A long list of popular events in Shreveport receives sponsorship money from the Air Authority. Should citizens be concerned? Columnist John Settle gives his common sense thoughts.

Questions have been raised by members of Shreveport’s private aviation community about many actions/inactions of the Shreveport Airport Authority (SAA).

One of these concerns is sponsorships of Shreveport organizations, events and the inter-relationship of the sponsorships with the SAA board members. These expenditures are made with public dollars.

A public records request reveals the following sponsorships for the year 2015;

Mudbug Madness   $7500   50 admission tickets

Strand Theatre   $10,000   no tickets

Shreveport Symphony 2014-2015 Season   $2500   4 tickets, Margaret Shehee, two

Shreveport Symphony   2015-2016 Season   $5000   Mary Jackson, two, Bishop Brandon

Red River Revel   $7000   30 general admission tickets

The 2016 sponsorships were:

Mudbug Madness   $7500   50 admission tickets

Strand Theatre   $5000   no tickets

Mudbug Hockey   $5000   no tickets

Watermelon Festival   $1500 no tickets

Christmas in The Sky   $10,000   NO INFO PROVIDED ON TICKETS

Susan G. Komen Race   $2500   no tickets

The 2017 sponsorships were:

Mudbug Madness   $5000   no tickets

Bossier Chamber   $2650  no tickets

State Fair   $2000   200 tickets

Watermelon Festival   $1000   no tickets

The 2018 sponsorships were:

Christmas in the Sky   $10,000   4 tickets

Mudbug Madness   $5000   no tickets

Red River Revel/Brew $2500  no tickets

Red River Balloon Rally   $1300   no tickets

Watermelon Festival/Chamber   $200   no tickets

Watermelon Festival U of A   $1500   no tickets

Red River Revel   $675   no tickets

State Fair of Louisiana $0/trade   200 tickets

The 2019 sponsorships, through July of this year, are:

Crawfest   $3000   no tickets

Derby Day   $1200   no tickets

Fashion Prize   $2500   no tickets

Mudbug Madness   $7500   no tickets

Red River Revel   $675   no tickets

Robinson Film Center   $5000   no tickets

Red River Balloon Rally   $1000   no tickets

(The 2019 sponsorships are paid by a Department of Transportation marketing grant.)

SAA board members are Waynette Ballengee (chairman), Grant Nuckolls (vice-chair), Jonathan Reynolds, Margaret Shehee, and Mary Jackson.

 Ballengee is closely associated with Christmas in the Sky and Robinson Film Center. She has held top leadership positions in both organizations.

The Shehee name has long been associated with the Strand, the State Fair and The Shreveport Symphony.

Nuckolls is a co-presenter of Crawfest and Derby Day.

Shehee was the board chair in 2018 and Jackon was board chair in 2017.

The relationships, if any of the board members to the other events, is not known at this time. The criteria for sponsorships for each year has just been requested along with ticket distribution by SAA.

Questions have been raised by the private aviation community on the legality of the sponsorships for the years 2015-2018.  Hopefully SAA officials will promptly provide this information along with the sponsorship criteria and ticket distributions.