Vermont Termination Letter Details Safety Concerns With Controversial Skydiving Business Owner

Oct 22, 2018

There are new details today about the abrupt termination of sex offender and skydiving business owner Alex Kelly’s lease at the Bennington Airport in September. WAMC, using a public records request with Vermont’s Agency of Transportation Public Records, received the full letter of termination from the state of Vermont to Kelly, whose lease with the state was ended in late September.

The letter enumerates Kelly’s list of safety violations as identified by Vermont after the state received complaints from fellow airport users and customers of Green Mountain Skydiving. In the nine points presented by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the claims against Kelly’s operation include skydiving landings outside of the area identified by his permit, a lack of staff members monitoring that landing area, driving a noncompliant vehicle on the airfield, allowing a customer to light a cigarette by the airport’s fuel farm, and an act of vandalism on an agency office that dates back to late August.

Kelly has been a controversial presence in nearby North Adams, Massachusetts – from his confrontational relationship with city government to his interactions with an outspoken group of airport users who have vocalized their discontent with his presence at the Harriman-And-West Airport.

Kelly currently operates his Berkshire Skydiving business out of the city’s airport. His lease of the Shamrock Hangar at the publicly-owned facility gives him control of its public restrooms, as well as security information for the facility’s entrances and exits. Kelly previously left a skydiving company in Connecticut under allegations of molestation, assault and violent threats.

Kelly has declined requests for an on-air interview from WAMC since the summer.

The city of North Adams’ Administrative Officer Michael Canales told WAMC last week that the city has known about Kelly’s exit from Vermont since early October, which Mayor Tom Bernard later confirmed without offering further comment. The issue was not raised at the latest monthly airport commission meeting on October 16. 

North Adams City Councilor Jason LaForest – who acts as the council’s liaison to the city’s airport commission – tells WAMC he intends to present the letter at Tuesday night’s North Adams City Council meeting.