Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/12/2012 04:49:18 PM PST

An attorney for Norton Property Management Services LLC, one of 16 companies under federal investigation in connection with an alleged corruption at San Bernardino International Airport, says aggressive actions by the airport forced the company to file bankruptcy.

During a Thursday hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside, John Melissinos, the attorney representing T. Milford Harrison, a manager at the company, said Norton Property had been working out a financial settlement with one of its three tenants, AeroPro, when the airport served Norton Property with a three-day notice on Dec. 5 to pay pay its debt, or leave a hangar.

Norton Property, which subleases portions of a hangar at the airport to the tenants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 7, and says it seeks to maintain its rights under a 15-year hangar lease.

“Norton Property feels it was aggressive, because prior to that, (San Bernardino International Airport) had been working with Norton to keep AeroPro,” Melissinos said.

He said there is a proposed $192,500 settlement with AeroPro, which had failed to pay what it owed under its sublease.

Melissinos also said there is another potential tenant for the hangar, and that Norton Property wants to “sit down” with airport officials in an effort to reach a compromise.

FBI investigators in September raided the airport to gain information on airport developer Scot Spencer and his business ties there, including those with Harrison, a business partner of Spencer and former executive director of the airport.

Spencer’s signature appears with Harrison’s on the bankruptcy filing, but Spencer says he is not connected to the bankruptcy.

In their bankruptcy filing, Spencer and Harrison claim their company holds between $1 million to $10 million in assets and $500,000 to $1 million in liabilities.

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