Former Wings of Alaska proprietors suing new owners

Complaint: SeaPort Airlines no longer making payments

Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. - An Alaska couple has sued Portland-based SeaPort Airlines because it stopped making payments to the couple on the Juneau airplane hangar the business bought from the couple last year.

The complaint filed in Alaska this month by Robert and Darlene Jacobsen says the 24,000 square-foot hangar is worth at least $2 million and they are still owed about $1.6 million.

SeaPort CEO John Beardsley agreed to buy the hangar in April 2008 as part of the startup airline's deal to acquire the Wings of Alaska airline - a sale important to SeaPort's Oregon operation. SeaPort needed an air carrier operating certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration and other certificates from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It obtained those through the purchase.

SeaPort still operates Wings of Alaska, which flies to small towns in Alaska, and still uses the Juneau hangar.

The Jacobsens are former owners of the Alaska airline, which SeaPort bought for $750,000. In a separate agreement that was part of the deal, Beardsley, a major owner of SeaPort, agreed to buy the hangar through his development company - Fountain Village Development.

Fountain Village recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Jim Waldon, an attorney representing Beardsley's firm, said the couple's lawsuit is on hold until the bankruptcy court makes a decision on how to proceed.

As collateral, Fountain Village gave the Jacobsens titles for several pieces of property in Oregon, and Waldon said the Jacobsens now own that property.

But Budd Simpson, an Alaska lawyer representing the Jacobsens said the couple never intended to own the property. He said Beardsley personally guaranteed the transaction and is personally liable.

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