Josh Dulaney and Joe Nelson, Staff Writers
Posted: 12/14/2011 04:33:17 PM PST

Officials overseeing San Bernardino International Airport approved a process Wednesday by which controversial airport developer Scot Spencer faces removal from most operations.

“Eventually, that’s what will occur,” said interim executive Airport Director A.J. Wilson.

The San Bernardino International Airport Authority board gave Wilson authority to assume management of the airport on Dec. 24 if Spencer doesn’t find a nationally recognized professional management firm to take over.

Wilson would then take control.

He said every notice he has sent to Spencer has “gone into the dark hole of silence…”

Spencer and business partner T. Milford Harrison, former executive director of the airport, are at the center of a federal investigation into allegations of bribery and fraud at the airport, and have also filed for bankruptcy protection on behalf of their company, Norton Property Management Services, LLC.

The two men filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside on Dec. 7.

The company is one of 16 established by Spencer that is now under FBI scrutiny. Spencer created the limited liability companies and corporations when he took over development of the airport more than five years ago.

Spencer and Harrison are among several individuals, including San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris and Spencer’s father, George Spencer, who are the focus of the FBI probe, which also includes allegations of conspiracy, money laundering and theft and fraud related to federal funds.

Spencer served more than four years in a federal prison for bankruptcy fraud in Florida before he came to San Bernardino to develop its airport when no one else would, officials said.

FBI agents swarmed the airport in September and filled a U-Haul truck from floor to ceiling with boxes of documents seized from the airport’s main offices. It came in the wake of a scathing report by the Grand Jury two months prior, which sharply criticized how the airport was managed.

In their bankruptcy filing, Spencer and Harrison claim their company has between $1 million to $10 million in assets and $500,000 to $1 million in liabilities. They also claim Norton’s liquidated debts, excluding debts owed to insiders or affiliates, is less than $2.3 million, while its debt to creditors is $935,946.80.

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