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TUMWATER, WA- A longtime critic of the Port of Olympia has filed a lawsuit claiming the port has no right to spend taxpayer money on the Airport Golf Center.

The port bought the nine-hole golf course for $29,000 from bankrupt Family Golf Centers Inc., in New York. The course was recently renamed the Airport Golf Center.

Paul Telford, a frequent Port critic, says the airport should be investing in properties that improve its industrial facilities. He adds he believes a golf course does not serve such a purpose.

Telford intends to stop the port from awarding a contract for installing a $200,000 fence at the driving range.

Port officials have countered that a higher fence must be installed to stop golf balls from flying onto nearby business properties. Golfers presently are limited to using irons, a restriction the port says is hurting business.

The port is prepared to defend itself against the lawsuit and claims it has no merit.

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