Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ouch! Another Ogden Airport Operator Bites the Dust

Silver State Helicopters closes its doors and files for bankruptcy

It's definitely been a bad month at the Ogden Airport for businesses involved in the civil aviation industry. First, Adam Aircraft fell into financial freefall in January. Now we learn that Ogden-Hinkley Airport's resident helicopter school is calling it quits for good. We include below the pertinent paragraphs from this morning's Standard-Examiner story:

OGDEN — A national helicopter pilot school with a campus at Ogden-Hinckley Airport fired all of its employees and closed its doors Sunday night, leaving students stranded with thousands of dollars in loans.

After watching the Super Bowl, Garett Oberg, an Ogden resident and student at Silver State Helicopters, said he found the school’s secretary had left him a voice mail.

“They said there’s no school for a week because Silver State was having a problem with a financial backer,” he said.

On Monday, the school was locked up, the Web site had a news release declaring bankruptcy, and the answering machine had a message for the aspiring pilots: “If you’re a student at Silver State, we recommend you contact a lawyer immediately.”
What a difference a couple of months make. As recently as 11/26/07, Silver State Helicopter press releases were touting the company as one of the high fliers in the U.S. economy:

Silver State Helicopters has been named as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country by Inc. magazine's 2007 Inc. 500 list. Silver State Helicopters ranked number 243 among the Inc 500 as well as ranked fourth in the Inc 500's Top Companies in Transportation.

Silver State Helicopters achieved a six-year sales growth from 2001 to 2007 of 963.4 percent with revenues growing to $78.1 million in 2006. As the fastest-growing rotorcraft company in the world, Silver State Helicopters has a business model that is unequaled by any other in the industry. The company has the largest flight training institution in the country with the additional commercial operations that include search and rescue, air ambulance, cargo transportation, seismic exploration, law enforcement air support, agriculture, fire fighting and many other services.

"It is an honor to be ranked again among some of the most dynamic businesses in the country," said Jerry Airola, president of Silver State Helicopters. "The growth and the strength of the company is a testament to the incredible team we have here at Silver State Helicopters."

The Inc. 500 ranks U.S.-based privately-held companies according to revenue growth from 2003 through 2006. To qualify, companies must have had at least $200,000 in revenue in 2003 and at least, $2 million in 2006. The Inc. 500 is a prescient indicator of the companies and industries that are driving the economy forward.
Now this erstwhile "up and coming" company will apparently be doing all its high flying in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

We'll offer a helpful tip for those youngsters among our readership who've never experienced an economic recession: this is what recessions look like at the outset. Expect more stories like these in the coming months. Just a helpful hit from yer old pal Rudi.

That advice goes double for our Emerald City Council/RDA Board, as they blithely continue to commit millions of public dollars to numbskull public projects and schemes, without so much as running a credit check on project promoters and/or schemers.

Reader comments are invited, as always. We know you're out there; we can hear you breathing.


david s. said...

A couple of years ago I wrote a letter to the mayor and city council, pointing out none of them had the acumen to be dealing in business matters. "Who do you think you are?" was the message.

Godfrey met with me and told me among other things, that Stuart Reid could get a job anywhere for $300,000 a year, even though the job he took shortly thereafter was for 1/4 that much, working for Godfrey.

Well guess what? Down the tubes the schemes now go. So what is Godfrey now proposing? More tax giveaways to Midtown Development. What about his old deals? He'll just stand in line to sue to get the city's money back from the fly by night businesses he subsidized.

I asked them how does putting up yard signs qualify somebody to make business decisions. I asked them to humbly asses whether city government was qualified in such matters. The answer then, and now, should be obvious to anyone. If not, it may become even more obvious as time goes by.

Godfrey’s assertion was that we have to pay people to move here. Well, it turns out paying out city money is easy. Getting people to do what they say they will do is the hard part. We never had to pay people to move here.

It's an expensive way for some elected officials to get an education. It always is.

what goes 'round said...

let's hope the Ogen citizens who put the Mayor Godfrey in office are watching and throwing up, too.

googlegirl said...

US recession will dwarf dotcom crash

wake up call! said...

Time for the Ogden City Council to become aware of what is happening nationwide and worldwide to our economy.

I ask them to table all new expenditures of City funds or obligations of City funds until our financial future looks a little clearer.

And that is my message for the Utah Legislature and Governor Huntsman as well.

Handing out checks to taxpayers is not solving the problem. It only makes our debt larger.

ozboy said...

David S.

Very good and concise post on the mayor and his business MO.

In it you wrote: "It's an expensive way for some elected officials to get an education"

Unfortunately, while us tax payers foot the enormous tuition for these "elected officials", it all seems to be wasted because they never do learn the lessons. Mayor Godfrey and his "circle of empty suits" just seem to keep playing the same games and making the same mistakes.

They are now going to underwrite this new hotel and water park scheme by issuing another $18 million in city bonds that are really the "responsibility of the hotel developer". They assure the tax payers that we will not be on the hook for these "city issued" bonds, but they do not address the consequences down the road if the project fails. Like who then will be responsible for paying back the "city issued" bonds?

If the project succeeds the developers get all the rewards. If it fails the tax payers of Ogden get to cover all the losses. Boy, are we lucky to have such geniuses at the helm, or what?

Bill C. said...

Any development agreement that protects the taxpayer would never commit all the City money up front. Firt off, there is more than adequate parking for years, the City can participate by designating X amount of spots in one of the adjacent parking terraces, (old mall parking) this the hotel can use for their valet parking. Self parking hotel patrons can just walk 1000 ft. no big deal, thats how it is in Vegas, it's usually a longer walk.
There's enough exsisting parking for what they term Phase I and phase II. If and when Phase III ever were to materialize, additional parking could be addressed. The City need not be the bank for any of these things, the only reason lying little matty keeps offering to bank roll these guys is the projects are too shakey to secure funding thru normal channels.

Bill C. said...

I forgot to mention that the interest free loan and land deal go way further than any truely conservative minded government would be willing to concider.

zabo the magician said...


You mentioned that the mayor claims Stuart Reid could make $300,000 per year easy out side of Ogden city government.

That of course begs the question - if he could and doesn't, what does that say about his intelligence? Do we really want a guy that is that "smart" being the brains behind perhaps a hundred million in city debt for a whole slate of strange and stranger business enterprises?

Reid and Patterson are both Salt Lake rejects. Little fish from the bigger pond to the south who migrated to a littler pond in Ogden where they both could be big fish.
With Mayor Godfrey directing the show it is a comedy of errors wherein the incompetent mayor is leading the incapable losers from SLC in the looting of the Ogden treasury to do the unnecessary in an ill-advised attempt to do what they proved they were not capable of doing in Salt Lake.

And the beat goes on.

The Mogambo Guru said...

More from ME!

Knows Jack said...

I am impressed to see your link to Mogambo and Daily Reckoning -

If you really want to know what is going on with bogus U.S. dollars and government facts on such be sure to check in on John Wiliams website John Willims' Shadow Government Statistics

Our government hasn't told us the truth about our money supply for forever.

And what affects our national monetary supply definitely impacts our local money supply or lack of-

Keep up the good info -

Osiris said...

WOW - the Weber County Blog could turn out to be an insidious, unrecognized financial learning tool for the uniformed like Matthew Godfrey and the Standard editorial board who check up on what we are up to here.

It is great to influence without the influenced recognizing they are being influenced.

Britney Spears said...

Honestly, I think we should just trust Mayor Godfrey in every decision that he makes and we should just support that.

Melanie said...

Well, I'm puzzled as I can't figure out why all the Godfrey comments under the Silver State article. My son was a student at this school in California. I smell something really rotten, and I think possibly even criminal with what went on with students. Like Mr. Oberg, my the loan disbursed the final $23,000 just 2 days before closing. Do you think 2 days before they didn't know about bankruptcy? Not only that, but they are saying they have $50,000 in assets and a substantial more in debt. With all those schools only $50,000 in assets? Anyway, trying to get info. to my son on what is happening with the school and former students here as well as in California.

Curmudgeon said...


What happened [final transfer of student tuition accounts] was without doubt unethical. Whether it was illegal is another matter entirely.

RudiZink said...

Obtaining something of value (tuition money) by false pretenses is a prosecutatble crime in Utah, Melanie. If the company was still accepting tuition with the knowledge that a bankruptcy petition was in the works, the operator of the school has committed that crime.

You should immediately contact the attorney general's office about this.

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