Airport Chief Executive John D. Clark III earned a reputation in Jacksonville, Fla., for being an anti-union spendthrift, cutting jobs while treating himself lavishly as he traveled the world.
He made separate business trips to Paris, London, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Cairo -- four continents, all paid for by the airport and all within one year.
He once authorized $10,000 for a limousine in Paris for an airport board member and a lawyer, and ended up apologizing for it.
All of that on top of a $241,500 salary as Jacksonville airport chief executive officer, plus a car allowance and a private club membership . . .
Marcus Rau, former head of a carpenters union, said Clark "despises unions." He was especially upset that Clark cut 11 union jobs at a time when operating margins easily exceeded 30 percent.
"Praise the Lord that he's out of Jacksonville," Rau told The Star. "I'm sorry for people in Indianapolis, but I'm elated that he's gone from here."
Jacksonville City Council member Glorious Johnson described Clark to Folio Weekly as "dictatorial."
Clark once issued written instructions, retracted two days later, threatening to fire employees who complained to board members or the media.
Clark dismissed such criticism.
"I worked with members of the community, the City Council, the mayor," he told The Star. "I would disagree that I'm dictatorial."
Tobias, appointed by Mayor Greg Ballard, doesn't have a care in the world about all of these concerns raised about Clark's management style. "People try sometimes to make things into a big deal," Tobias said. "We're just trying to hire a CEO here." As for Clark, he's as flippant as one would expect based upon his past. "He said he planned to stay in Indianapolis 'for a number of years' but noted that he's in demand." "I am called very frequently about going to run other airports," he said, "both on a national and international basis."