The Birmingham Airport Authority has released more than 1,200 pages of documents Thursday related to the design, construction and installation of Multi-User Flight Information Display Systems at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
Judge Joseph Boohaker ordered the BAA to release the documents following a litigation hearing Wednesday between the authority and the Alabama Media Group, the owner of the state's three largest newspapers -- The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and Mobile's Press-Register -- as well as the papers' online operation al.com.
The group filed suit against the authority on April 17, claiming it was violating the Open Records Act by not fully disclosing information related to the $201 million terminal modernization project at the airport. Lawyers for Al.com and The Birmingham news argued that the records should be open to the public due to the fact that the authority oversaw all construction. The airport authority released copies of contracts with several companies involved in the project as well as some construction progress documents last week.
The documents released today consist of more than 1,000 pages of information regarding the flight information display system that fell on a Kansas family in March, killing a 10-year-old boy and injuring three others.
Lawyers representing the airport authority said Wednesday that the Alabama Media Group only filed suit as an attempt to generate revenue for one of its entities, The Birmingham News. They described the newspaper operation as being on "life support" due to a decline in advertising revenue, a claim representatives for the media group have refuted.ABC 33/40 is sifting through these documents and will have more information on what information the documents contain as it becomes available.