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Kelly Ends Operations at North Adams Airport
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
07:09PM / Tuesday, November 20, 2018
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The Airport Commission are given an operations update on Tuesday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Controversial skydiving instructor Alex Kelly has canceled his lease and will no longer operate at the airport.
 
Administrative Assistant Michael Canales informed the commission Tuesday that Kelly will no longer operate at Harriman-West Airport and has left the grounds.
 
"As of last week, Mr. Kelly has withdrawn from his lease of the airport classroom space and has withdrawn from operating at the airport effective now," he said. "We no longer consider him a tenant at the airport."
 
Canales did not provide the commission a reason for Kelly's exit nor did they ask.
 
The commission had voted to allow Kelly, a convicted rapist, to use the newly renovated city hangar in June over vocal protests from other tenants and airport users. 
 
The commissioners had taken several months to make their decision, saying it was because they were revamping the lease structures. Kelly has long alleged that the commission was dragging its feet to keep him out.
 
The vote did not come without controversy and meetings were highly attended with residents vehemently against Kelly's presence at the airport. The so-called "preppy racist" was charged with assaulting two women in the 1980s, although other women have also accused him, and then went on the run in Europe for nearly a decade before surrendering to authorities. He was convicted and later released early from his 17-year sentence. 
 
Kelly had been operating in Bennington, Vt., and sought to move to North Adams while that airport was under reconstruction. In October, his lease for Green Mountain Skydiving at William H. Morse State Airport was reportedly terminated by the Vermont Agency of Transportation because of a number of safety violations. 
 
Canales said Kelly has left no personal property in the classroom and it will be inspected.
 
Kelly had agreed to maintain the hangar while there and Canales said, for the time being, he will coordinate with the airport manager to make sure upkeep will continue through the winter.
 
"We will get that worked out," he said. "We will come up with a plan to get us through the next couple of months."
 
Canales said they will look at leasing out the space again when the weather improves, and the administrative building project is complete.
 
He said in the meantime the hangar will act as a manager's office.
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