Former Airport Director Turkia Mullin breaks her silence at news conference

Read Turkia Mullin's full statement

(WXYZ) - Former Airport Director Turkia Mullin broke her silence during a news conference in Bloomfield Hills Friday.

At the beginning of the news conference, Mullin's attorney told the media "This is a day of complete exoneration for Turkia."

Thursday, a judge ruled that Mullin be awarded $712,328 in pay plus attorney fees in a legal battle with Detroit Metro Airport.

The arbitrator ruled that Mullin was wrongfully terminated by the airport board, who swiftly fired her over concerns about her $200,000 severance from her previous employer: Wayne County.

Friday morning she made a brief statement and her attorneys provided an overview of the case.

"The airport was wrong, not only in what they did, but how they did it," said Mullin. "For more than a year and half, my life has been on hold. My professional career has been scrutinized and attacked."

"This marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life," she said. "I'm looking forward to getting back to business. This ordeal has made me stronger and more capable."

None of the money involved in the arbitration is public, as the Wayne County Airport Authority does not receive taxpayer money.

Also in his ruling, arbitrator Paul Teranes denied Mullin's claim that she was defamed by board member Bernard Parker, and he also denied her from collecting punitive damages.

The Airport Authority Board expressed disappointment with the ruling and said in a statement that they believe the board took appropriate action in 2011 when they fired Mullin.

The controversy over Turkia Mullin first erupted when the 7 Action News investigators broke the story of Mullin taking a $200,000 payment from Wayne County after voluntarily leaving her job as Wayne County Economic Development Director to take her new position as head of the airport.

READ TURKIA MULLIN'S FULL STATEMENT:

I am thrilled with the Judge's decision. We worked through a grueling trial schedule with 16 witnesses all sworn to tell the truth under oath, 100 trial exhibits, and over 60 hours of live testimony to finally get the real facts on the table.  We are gratified that the only person who really mattered—the judge—listened to the whole story—not just snippets – and decided, based on the truth, that the Airport was wrong not only in what they did but in how they did it.

For more than a year and a half, my life has been put on hold as my professional career has been scrutinized. The judge's detailed 17 page decision completely vindicates me, restores my reputation as an honest hard working person, and allows me and my family to move forward.

Throughout this difficult period I have relied on my family, friends, and colleagues for support and inspiration. I thank them for standing by me. I also would like to thank my attorneys Ray Sterling and Jennifer Lord who believed in me from the beginning and worked relentlessly to achieve this incredible result. I also need to acknowledge and thank the Airport Board members who stood by their principles and testified that their own colleagues on the Board were wrong, even though they knew they would suffer personal consequences.

This marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I am proud of my accomplishments as an Army veteran, attorney, business executive, volunteer, and a single mother of two wonderful children.

Throughout my life I have always worked hard to achieve my goals.  In fact, since age 12, I have worked even while attending school and I am looking forward to getting back to business. This ordeal has made me stronger and more capable. I believe in our community and the state of Michigan. I now look forward to putting my knowledge and experience back to work in new and exciting ways.

Thank you for attending. This is a great day!

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