Less than a day after being charged with grand theft, Nevada-based Vision Airlines has paid back what they owe to Okaloosa County. The airline has been in dispute with the County since 2011 to repay passenger facility charges collected when they were a part of Northwest Florida Regional Airport.
The airline had an agreement with Okaloosa County when they began operation. In their lease with the airport, per federal law, Vision Airlines agreed to keep 11 cents out of the $4.50 charge and give the rest back to the county. Needless to say this didn't happen, and soon they racked up a debt more than $100,000.
When they didn't pay up in full, it led the State Attorneys Office to charge them with grand theft on Monday. "We have charged that they have failed to turn over 117,659.98 in passenger facility charges to Okaloosa county", said Bill Eddins, State Attorney District 1.
Tuesday airport administration confirmed a much welcomed surprise, a check from Vision for more than $117,000, the full amount owed by Vision to the County. News 13 asked Eddins what this means for the charges. "Well, it's certainly a mitigating factor that they have paid the money, paid the restitution. However, it's premature at this time for me to make a decision with as to whether or not the case will be dropped. I feel that Vision Airlines should still be responsible for a payment for the cost of investigation, payment for the cost of prosecution, and perhaps payment of a fine.", Eddins said.
Since Vision has paid the restitution, Eddins says he has been in contact with Vision Airline's lawyers to discuss whether or not to go forward with the prosecution and will make his decision known in the coming weeks.