An item to approve the city's receipt for $11.3 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants to upgrade taxiways and runways at the Airport has been pulled off the agenda for tomorrow's San Antonio City Council meeting, amid an FAA investigation into whether the Council's decision to ban Chick-fil-A from the airport concessions agreement violated federal anti-discrimination laws, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The FAA was going to pick up about three quarters of the cost of the $15 million project, with the rest coming from the city's most recent bond issue.
The FAA investigation could lead to a suspension of grants to the airport, because federal law bans discrimination on the basis of several factors, including religion, in the designation of contracts and grant awards.
“This isn’t complicated,” said Councilman Greg Brockhouse, who has made the Chick-fil-A vote a centerpiece of his campaign for mayor. “This FAA grant is free money. Ron Nirenberg's poor leadership and bad decisions have made it so that we can’t even accept millions in free money."
Nirenberg and Councilman Roberto Trevino, who made the motion to exclude Chick-fil-A, have denied it was based on the Christian beliefs of corporate officials. Trevino said it was San Antonio 'standing up for its values,' saying Chick-fil-A executives and their foundation have made grants to traditional Christian groups that oppose same sex marriage.
Nirenberg says he supported excluding Chick-fil-A from the concessions contract because the firm's policy is to close on Sundays, which is the busiest day for airport travel. He says he wanted a local firm to get the available slots at the airport.