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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

 +   Like this comment
Posted by mandy skyy
a resident of Gemello
on Dec 13, 2013 at 8:55 am

How about Larry Ellison and other billionaire execs in Silicon Valley? What about Steve Jobs, did he have a fleet? Sergey and Larry are the new poster boys for greed. I am sure they will say it is a minor lapse committed by their staff. But then , they will never take responsible for the crimes they will commit. Whoever approved this agreement is an Obama supporter and the only reason he approved is because the Google founders are Obama supporters. So , there is a crime committed here and it is purely a conflict of interest and quid pro quo and this is grand theft and nothing short of that. The execs need to go to jail.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:18 am

I'm sure there was no "intentional mis-conduct". Absolutely dumbfounding how long it took to correct this "misunderstanding".

Soooo, will google be paying any of that millions of dollars back?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MfO
a resident of Whisman Station
on Dec 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I would love to have everyone pay their fair share of taxes and the like except for myself. I myself admit to not correcting a misunderstanding when it benefits me as I imagine many people do in this world - whether it be Obama supporters or non-Obama supporters. I do not consider that to be an evil, but human nature. We all want to benefit from something or not have to pay our share in order to keep what we have. Google is made up of people as any other company that you can name are made up of people. So, ask yourself, if a company had not been billing you for more than a year for your fair share, would you expect them to charge you the back pay and have to pay it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Grinch
a resident of another community
on Dec 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

@MfO, Your comment us tongue in cheek, right? You do realize that as of Aug, 2013,Google has 33.2 BILLION parked in offshore accounts in order to avoid paying their fair share of taxes on that profit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 27, 2013 at 3:33 pm

What does "fair share" even mean? The term itself is entirely subjective.

To me it's fair to take the cost of something, and divide the cost evenly among the people who use it.

But others think fair means the more you make the more you should pay.

I don't know what I should have to pay more in taxes than the guy next to me. I don't get more services. We use the same roads, sewers, and sidewalks.

They just cost more for some than others.

That sounds fair.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fair
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Otto -The wealtty definitely get more services. I had a laptop stolen from my house. Police took a report, but that was it. Steve Jobs gets some iPads stolen from his house and the police scramble to hunt the criminals down---successfully.

When a middle class white girl is assaulted, all he'll breaks loose. Girl is poor? Take the report and hope someone turns the perp in.

Tons of other examples

So yeah, fair IS fair!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of another community
on Dec 28, 2013 at 12:20 am

The wealthy also get more services literally for their money, for their invested capital. These investments are not a free ride. The money protecting the oil interests in the middle east benefit the business interests of the wealthy much more than they do those of the average citizen. The government has many services devoted exclusively to the wealthy, such as the price supports for farm crops which raise the price that poor folks pay for food. There is a lot of attention devoted to the federal reserve and the financial system, and this also benefits the wealthy way more than it does the poor people. The rich kids even find a way to get more out of their public education dollars than do the average people. The list goes on and on. Those roads that the guy talked about are moving the products of the companies the rich people have invested in. WIthout those roads and the wear for all those trucks, the goods could not be sold and the profits would dwindle. This list goes on and on. The airline industry is subsidized in its security and in flight operations of the FAA, and this clearly doesn't benefit poor people who never ever fly.


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