Former DC Airports VP Sues For Defamation

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Dulles Airport (photo courtesy of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority)

The agency that runs Dulles and Reagan National airports is being sued by one of its former officials.

George Ellis, a former vice president at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, has filed a $10 million defamation suit, claiming the authority breached a severance agreement attached to his controversial departure last April.

MWAA is responsible for overseeing the ongoing construction of the $5.6 billion Dulles rail link, one of the largest and most expensive infrastructure projects in the nation. Last year the MWAA board came under federal scrutiny for unethical hiring and questionable contracting practices.

Ellis claims the authority told federal auditors he was fired. He disputed that charge, saying he actually retired with benefits.

An audit by the Department of Transportation's inspector general alleged that Ellis -- who was referred to by title, not name, in the report -- and members of his MWAA staff accepted more than 25 free trips from a company with a major contract with the authority, as well as expensive gifts and Super Bowl tickets.

MWAA is not commenting on the lawsuit.

Ellis denies any wrongdoing and claims senior executives tried to make him a scapegoat for the bad publicity generated by the audit.