Suspended D/FW Airport official quits

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on January 13, 2011 at 1:52 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 13 at 11:07 AM

Don O'Bannon, a high-ranking Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport official, has stepped down from his post.

The resignation comes as he is under investigation for accepting a scholarship from Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas).

O'Bannon, a D/FW Airport vice-president who oversees contracts with minority businesses, was suspended three months ago and has been on paid leave since then.

But in a statement to News 8 on Wednesday, O' Bannon said, "I have resigned."

He did not explain why he's stepping down.

The politically-connected lawyer has been with D/FW since 2002, earning a six-figure salary. Multiple sources said he was terminated by the airport's top brass, but will be allowed to resign instead.

An investigation by News 8 uncovered possible ethics violations last October after O'Bannon's daughter, Danielle, received a $1,000 scholarship from Rep. Johnson.

The congresswoman owns a portion of two Hudson News stores at D/FW Airport, contracts that are directly overseen by O'Bannon.

Johnson has denied that O'Bannon had any role in the scholarship award. "I was solely responsible with Danielle working that application as well as others," the congresswoman said.

O'Bannon's ex-wife defended him last year, saying he did not know about his daughter's scholarship, but airport officials hired an outside investigator to look into it.

A spokesperson for D/FW said that investigation is still ongoing, and that the airport had not received a "formal letter" of resignation from O'Bannon as of Wednesday.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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