Cassie MacDuff

10:00 PM PDT on Monday, August 15, 2011

Cassie MacDuff

Did a company affiliated with Scot Spencer, developer of San Bernardino International Airport, really have a deal to refurbish a plane for the Obama campaign in July 2008?

The airport authority gave Spencer a $1 million settlement after he claimed a bungled lease prevented him from fulfilling the deal. But a grand jury audit poked holes in his story, questioning whether the settlement should have been paid.

Now, the airport authority has promised to seek an independent legal expert to review Spencer’s claim.

That’s one of the best things to come out of the two-year investigation into how the airport authority oversaw its dealings with the convicted felon.

The “Obama plane” story never made sense. Why would a presidential campaign, four months before the election, lease a plane that needed work? Wouldn’t it lease one that was already airworthy and certified?

A nondisclosure clause prevented airport officials from seeing the Democratic National Committee “lease.” They had to take Spencer’s lawyer’s word for it.

When paperwork was finally produced for the grand jury, it was undated and didn’t mention the DNC.

In March, Spencer suddenly said the plane was “never intended” for the Obama campaign, even though that was the central premise of his claim for which the airport authority have him a $550,000 loan and forgave $450,000 he owed.

This newspaper reported two years ago that DNC officials said they never heard of Spencer or his firm.

Disturbingly, the airport authority agreed to pay the settlement days after Spencer submitted it, and never demanded proof the plane used as collateral for the loan was worth $550,000.

Maybe after the legal review, Spencer will be forced to repay the money.

Ever-changing stories are nothing new with Spencer.

To read entire column, click here.