Airport board president files complaint against Councilwoman Lisa Modrick

 Rapid City Councilwoman Lisa Modrick is voted off the Council Tuesday night.
Rapid City Councilwoman Lisa Modrick is voted off the Council Tuesday night. (KOTA)
Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 7:39 PM CST
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Tensions between Rapid City Regional Airport and one of its tenants, West Jet Air Center, spills over into a controversy involving a Rapid City Alderman.

It's ultimately ended up with a Code of Conduct complaint against Ward 1 alderman Lisa Modrick, who also has been Westjet's director of operations since October of last year.

In December, Darren Haar, airport board president, asked to speak with Modrick, who is also a former airport board president. The conversation was recorded by Haar, without Modrick's knowledge.

Following that meeting, Modrick claimed she felt threatened and asked to meet with Mayor Steve Allender and Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris. That meeting was also recorded.

In that meeting with the Police Chief and Mayor, Modrick claims Haar was aggravated and made what she considered threats.

"Then he stated to me. He looked me straight into me and he says (long pause,) he'd looked into me. And then he said…disturbing words again, 'And I know where you live!' I laughed. I laughed at him," said Lisa Modrick in the recording.

WestJet Owner Linda Rydstrom also took the alleged threat seriously.

"The threat by itself is one thing. His (Haar) behavior, his demeanor as Lisa told us is very concerning to us," said Rydstrom

The meeting with the Mayor and Chief of Police prompted Assistant City Attorney Jess Rogers to create a memorandum of the meeting.

In that document, Rogers claims that after listening to both recordings "no reasonable person" would think Haar planned to harm Modrick or her employer.

We also had a chance to listen to that recording, which we were told was complete and unedited, and also did not hear anything that seemed threatening-- although we could only hear audio of the meeting.

That memo about that meeting also prompted Haar to file a code of conduct complaint

Mayor Steve Allender says the recording does not appear to be altered in any way. He says the tone and context on both sides of the recording would have to be changed

"This is an ugly phase for our city, but it's also an important phase that city council, all governing bodies have to be willing to hold themselves accountable," said Allender. "So, there's been an allegation of some behavior that violates the code of conduct here, so then it becomes a duty of the city council to take some action. So, while we're going to be uncomfortable throughout this process, it's also important to realize that it's a very important process."

There will be an executive session next council meeting on February 18, where all council members will be available and Modrick can be present with her legal council. Allender thinks there will be statements, comments, and questions. At the end of that meeting, the council will decide if further action is warranted.

If so, a public disciplinary hearing will be scheduled, where the possible outcomes could be to do nothing, issue formal reprimand, censure, or remove Modrick from office.

In a statement to us on Monday, Westjet owner Linda Rydstrom says they still support Modrick, calling her a true asset, not only to their company, but also the aviation community and the community of Rapid City.

Lisa Modrick declined to comment on Monday.

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