Earlier this month CBS4 proudly proclaimed that they were the only news station allowed to accompany Gov. Bill Owens and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez on a statewide campaign tour that took place via a luxury private jet.
Colorado Confidential was the only news source to ask: “Who paid for the airplane?”
Apparently, nobody did.On Monday, October 9, Owens and Beauprez flew in a private jet from Jefferson County airport, to Colorado Springs, to Grand Junction and then to Pueblo in a one-day swing for Beauprez’s gubernatorial campaign. The luxury Citation X jet that Beauprez and Owens used for the campaign swing is one of the finest business jets in operation. As NetJets, a company that charters corporate jets, says about the airplane: “No business jet gets you to your destination faster than the Citation X.”
Such a luxury jet comes at a hefty price. The Citation X runs about $4,000 per hour to charter, depending on the company and the time frame (and that doesn’t include fuel surcharges, which run several hundred dollars). Beauprez’s statewide tour would have taken at least two hours of total flight time, which means that the campaign should have filed an expense of somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000 to charter the plane.
No such expenditure was filed, however, and Beauprez’s campaign manager John Marshall did not return calls seeking comment.
The cost to charter the jet could not have been listed as an in-kind contribution by one individual because it far exceeds the $1,000 contribution limits, and the amount was not listed as a campaign expenditure on the campaign finance report that was due on Oct. 16.
The airplane in question is owned by Limerick Aviation, LLC, of Denver, which appears to have a connection to Gov. Owens. In 2001 a company named Limerick Holdings, listing the same address as Limerick Aviation and including “aircraft” as its business purpose, donated $4,566 to Bill Owens’ campaign for governor.
Colorado Confidential contacted Limerick Aviation to inquire about the cost of the Citation X jet and received a terse reply. “I cannot answer that question. Sorry. Bye-bye,” said a man named Roger who answered the phone and abruptly hung up.
So who paid for the luxury jet that Beauprez used to fly around the state campaigning for governor? To quote Roger, “We can’t answer that question.”