A federal judge declined Thursday to issue an immediate verdict following a contempt of court trial pitting Ogden City and Ogden Hinckley Airport officials against an airport fueler.
U.S. District Judge David K. Winder, who had upbraided the parties for their intransigence the day before, said he would rule later following a four-day trial he had expected to last a day."I've never seen such an impossible situation with people who don't want to get along with each other," Winder said Wednesday before calling a 10-minute recess and storming out of the courtroom.
He continually had expressed exasperation at the slow pace of the trial.
Spectra Sonics Aviation, a fixed-base operator at the airport, filed contempt of court charges against Ogden City and airport officials, claiming the officials had violated a court order arising from the settlement of a 5-year-old discrimination lawsuit.
The business claimed it was losing money because it has been subject to safety requirements not applied to its competitor, Sunwest Aviation. It filed a $1.2 million suit in November 1983 against Ogden City and airport officials.
The two sides had reached an out-of-court settlement that was approved in federal court in June. It gave Spectra Sonics a 25-year lease at the airport and $275,000 from Ogden City's former insurance carrier.
Spectra Sonics concluded presentation of its case Wednesday afternoon. Attorney R. Brent Stephens, representing Ogden City and airport officials, then asked Winder to dismiss the contempt charges for a lack of clear evidence.
But Winder denied the request, saying he wanted to hear all the testimony. The judge also said there are dozens of documents he needs to read.
"There's such a massive amount of evidence," he said.
During Wednesday's court action, Spectra Sonics owner William Dilley testified that his almost-daily meetings with Airport Manager John Wolfe after Wolfe's appointment as airport manager in 1986 were not designed to harass or complain, but to give guidance and acquaint Wolfe with airport regulations.
"I wished him all the luck in the world, but I doubted he could operate with the direction he was receiving," Dilley said.
On Thursday, as city and airport officials began presenting their case, Wolfe testified that while his relationship with Dilley initially was "reasonably cordial, it sometimes got a little heated."
The airport manager testified that Dilley felt there was a conspiracy to drive him from the airport. That alleged conspiracy included former airport manager Len Peterson, former city manager Cowles Mallory, former mayor Robert A. Madsen, the Federal Aviation Administration and each member of the city's Airport Advisory Board, Wolfe said.
Wolfe said he felt the differences were being resolved until Oct. 20, 1987, when Dilley called him "a liar and said he'd see me in jail." Wolfe said he did not know what triggered the outburst.