According to prosecutors, Kinsella and Clark engaged in a clandestine pay-to-play scheme at JFK to the detriment of British Airways, the Port Authority, airport employees, and travelers.
By Forum Staff
Two former airline industry officials have been indicted for allegedly engaging in a multi-year commercial bribery and money laundering scheme at John F. Kennedy International Airport, State Attorney General Tish James recently announced.
Former British Airways Executive Steven Clark, 61, and former Ground Services International CEO Jeff Kinsella, 59, were arraigned last Tuesday. Clark, the former head of British Airways operations at JFK Terminal 7, was indicted on two counts of second-degree money laundering, two counts of first-degree commercial bribe receiving, three counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy. Kinsella was indicted on two counts of second-degree money laundering, two counts of first-degree commercial bribing, four counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, and two counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree.
Both Clark and Kinsella were released on their own recognizance and ordered to return to court on Jan. 3.
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 related to his position at British Airways, which leases JFK Terminal 7 from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Under this arrangement, British Airways selects service providers, such as GSI, that work at Terminal 7. Clark oversaw British Airways operations in the Americas and Asia, as well as British Airways operations at Terminal 7.
According to prosecutors, Kinsella and Clark engaged in a clandestine pay-to-play scheme at JFK to the detriment of British Airways, the Port Authority, airport employees, and travelers. Most of the money was allegedly laundered from GSI through Danison Management LLC, a Kinsella company, and a shell company created by Clark named Naviance Consulting. Kinsella allegedly paid Clark up to $18,000 per month for his promotion and protection of GSI within British Airways. According to James’s office, 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.
In addition to the monthly payments, according to prosecutors, Kinsella also allegedly granted Clark an undisclosed 5-percent ownership interest in GSI. Throughout 2006 and 2007, Clark advocated on behalf of GSI within British Airways, during which GSI was subsequently awarded contracts to provide lucrative ground handling services at Chicago and JFK Airport. After 2007, British Airways awarded GSI ground handling contracts at other airports in the United States as well as further expanding GSI’s duties at JFK. In 2016, after GSI was sold to Dnata—a ground handling company based in Dubai—Kinsella paid Clark $3.6 million for his 5-percent ownership interest. Clark never disclosed to British Airways his monthly payments from GSI and Kinsella or his undisclosed 5-percent ownership interest in GSI during the entire time he advocated on behalf of GSI within British Airways.
“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,” said Port Authority Inspector General Michael Nestor.