Two former airline executives were indicted in a “pay-to-play” bribery scheme at JFK International Airport, state Attorney General Letitia James announced.
Jeff Kinsela, 59, the former CEO of Jamaica-based Ground Services International and Steven Clark, 61, a former British Airways executive allegedly engaged in a multi-year commercial bribery and money laundering scheme at JFK.
Kinsella and Clark surrendered on multiple felony charges centers on allegations that Kinsella paid millions of dollars in bribes to Clark, the former head of British Airways operations at JFK Terminal 7.
According to court filings and statements made by prosecutors, between 2011 and 2016, Kinsella allegedly paid more than $5 million to Clark for the purpose of influencing Clark’s conduct in choosing to use Ground Services International at Terminal 7.
“Today’s indictment sends a clear message to airline companies and airport vendors: pay-to-play schemes will not fly in New York,” James said. “For years, Kinsella, GSI’s former CEO and owner, and Clark, a former British Airways executive, broke the law and invalidated the trust of the millions of people that use Terminal 7 each year in an effort to line their own pockets. My office is committed to cracking down on public corruption and will continue to work with our partners at the Port Authority of NY & NJ to ensure public integrity and accountability throughout the area.”
Kinsella and Clark engaged in the clandestine pay-to-play scheme to the detriment of British Airways, the Port Authority, airport employees, and travelers who pass through JFK. Most of the money was allegedly laundered from GSI through Danison Management LLC, a Kinsella company, and a shell company created by Clark names Naviance Consulting.
Kinsella allegedly paid Clark up to $18,000 per month for his promotion and protection of CSI within British Airways. Clark and Kinsella concealed these payments from British Airways by creating fake invoices, which Clark then used to bill GSI for illusory consulting services, concealing the true nature of the payments.
When Kinsella sold the company in 2016, Clark received an additional payment of $3.6 million from Kinsella for his secret ownership interest GSI never disclosed either its payments to Clark or Clark’s financial stake in GSI, to British Airways, or any other entity in the airline industry.
“Today’s announcement exposes a pay-to-play scheme that enabled Port Authority tenants and vendors to game the system and award business in exchange for payoffs and greed versus integrity and fairness,” Port Authority of NY & NJ Inspector General Michael Nestor said. “The Port Authority of NY & NJ Office of Inspector General and the New York State Attorney General will work vigorously to identify and root out corruption and ensure all tenants and contractors conducting business at our Port Authority facilities do so with the highest degree of honesty, integrity and fairness.”