News

Inspector General: Google execs saved millions on jet fuel at Moffett

Google's founders have been getting an improper bargain on jet fuel at Moffett Field, according to a report released Wednesday by the NASA Inspector General. The reduced price saved the group between $3.3 million and $5.3 million since 2007.

While no "intentional misconduct" was found, the inspector general reports that Google's founders, who have a private fleet of planes in a leased Moffett Field hangar, paid only $2 million for jet fuel in 2012 that would have cost $3 million to $3.6 million if purchased at market rate at the San Jose Mineta International airport. The executives were also spared from paying $240,000 to $300,000 in state and local taxes that year.

The report attributes the improper discount to a "misunderstanding" by fuel provider DLA-Energy, which operated under the assumption that the planes were being used for NASA research and could purchase it at a reduced rate for government contractors. But according to the report, only 26 percent of the 229 flights between August 2012 to July 2013 were for NASA missions. The other 170 were private flights.

As of August, , the Google group's H211 is now paying market jet fuel rates for non-NASA flights.

Through H211 LLC, Google founders Sergei Brin, Larry Page and Google executive Eric Schmidt own two helicopters and seven planes stationed at Moffett Field's Hangar 211, including a pair of jumbo jets, several Gulfstream jets and an Alpha jet plane.

The report notes that the majority of the flights for the controversial Alpha Jet -- a small jet fighter once called "a toy" for the executives -- were for NASA research. The Alpha Jet was purchased when the FAA was slow to approve modifications to the executive's other planes needed to carry NASA earth atmosphere observation sensors to do research required of H211 under its agreement with NASA.

The report notes that H211 pays a fair market rent for its space, $1.4 million a year, which the Inspector General reports to have been of benefit to NASA. H211 also saved NASA between $1,800 and $6,500 per hour on over 200 research flights since 2009.

H211's lease has been extended twice and expires in July, 2014. After criticism of NASA by two Congress members and the Inspector General for permitting the lease without a bidding process, there is no extension of the lease in the works.

Comments

There are no comments yet, please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Veggie Grill coming soon to Mountain View's San Antonio Center
By Elena Kadvany | 25 comments | 3,754 views

The Dude Abides
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 1,565 views

. . . Loved in Spite of Ourselves
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,555 views

A memorable Paly prom
By Sally Torbey | 7 comments | 1,255 views

Passover Joke
By Paul Losch | 6 comments | 466 views