The man who had been put in control of nearly every facet of San Bernardino International Airport’s development and management could have a diminished role as of Christmas /FILE PHOTO

BY KIMBERLY PIERCEALL
STAFF WRITER
kpierceall@pe.com

Published: 14 December 2011 04:33 PM

The man who had been put in control of nearly every facet of San Bernardino International Airport’s development and management could have a diminished role by Christmas.

Scot Spencer, whose home and airport offices were searched in an FBI-led investigation in late September, has until Dec. 23 to hire a nationally recognized airport management firm after the last firm left because it hadn’t been paid. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose his own management contract with the airport.

Also, to avoid legal action, he has about 30 days to hand over ownership of the airport’s passenger terminal, the Million Air building and a partially finished U.S. Customs facility, and other buildings.

A.J. Wilson, interim executive director of the San Bernardino International Airport Authority and the Inland Valley Development Agency, would take over management of the airport temporarily, according to a vote by the authority on Wednesday.

Wilson has led the airport authority and the development agency for a little more than a month. So far, he has spent more time attempting to solve problems related to Spencer’s companies than anything else, he said at Wednesday’s meeting. Every notice sent to one of Spencer’s companies has entered a “black hole of silence,” Wilson said.

Spencer did not attend Wednesday’s meeting and could not be reached for comment.

In the meantime, Spencer’s company, San Bernardino Airport Management, is still at the helm but without the professional airport management firm that it had hired.

Spencer had contracted with AvPorts, a Virginia-based company that manages several airports. AvPorts left San Bernardino on Monday after Spencer didn’t pay the company what it was owed, said AvPorts CEO Ozzie Moore by phone.

If Spencer finds another firm that’s either internationally or nationally recognized for its airport management work, that company still would need to be approved by the authority.

Spencer’s companies at the airport have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, including rent owed to the public agencies as well as taxes owed to the county, state and IRS. A Boeing 727 plane owned by his company was recently impounded by the county tax collector, and he has been evicted from space he rents at the airport.

“It’s all about accountability and being current in your obligations,” said San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris when asked about Spencer’s diminished role at the airport. Morris is the president and chair of the airport authority and the IVDA. “It’s critically important that we pay our bills.”

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