Center to Buy All of Huffman Aviation
Owner Rudi Dekkers sold the business in the face of a civil suit.
by Earle Kimel
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune
January 28, 2003
Rudi Dekkers sold Huffman Aviation to one of his competitors Friday, in hopes the sale would make some of his legal problems go away.
Triple Diamond Jet Center, which had already bought one property from Dekkers, will buy the rest of the business, except for 10 airplanes.
The purchase price was not disclosed. Although the transfer of lease at the Venice Airport must be approved by the City Council, Triple Diamond has already taken over day-to-day operation of the business.
Dekkers offered the businesses for sale in the face of a civil suit from former business partner Wallace Hilliard of Naples and a criminal suit alleging fraud.
The fraud suit stems from the sale of one aviation building to Triple Diamond though it was mortgaged to guarantee a $200,000 loan from a business associate.
Dekkers claims the loan money went straight to Hilliard for debts incurred by Florida Air Inc., which Dekkers and Hilliard founded in early 2001.
Dekkers said that when everything was finished, all debts would be paid -- including one to Kenneth Jossart, who filed the complaint against Dekkers.
"If the complainer is dropping the case, hopefully the state attorney will do the same," Dekkers said.
Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Greene said he'd consider anything presented to him but at this point he's planning to continue with prosecution.
The sale is contingent on Dekkers' sorting out legal and financial troubles with former business partner Hilliard and creditor Jossart, said Jim Beach, director of operations for Jet Center parent company Triple Diamond Enterprises.
"We don't care what Wally owes Rudi or Rudi owes Wally," he said.
Last month, Dekkers sold the maintenance portion of Huffman Aviation to former Huffman general manager Bob Martin and his partner, Norm Beckman.
Martin and Beckman are operating as Venice Aviation Services. That sale, too, is pending City Council approval of assignment of airport leases.
Triple Diamond will not be operating a flight school, said Beach, who noted that several people have contacted him about using the jet center as a school site but no decisions have been made.
The City Council hasn't scheduled either of Dekkers' sales for review.
Dekkers said he plans to stay in Venice and start a plane-leasing business with six Beechcraft aircraft he would still own, then eventually move to Naples.
Copyright 2003 Sarasota Herald-Tribune Co.
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