The bank is set to plow $18 million for renovations, on top of $11 million for a 10-year lease, into a private hangar at a New York airport — a move that the hangar's previous occupant says is an act of retribution against him on the part of Westchester County, reports the Journal News.
The president of Avitat Westchester says that county officials set up a "bogus" bidding process for a new lease on the hangar after he filed several lawsuits complaining of unfair business practices, the paper reports.
"I think it's a bit of a hoodwink," Michael Dolphin told the paper. Avitat has operated out of the hangar in question for 16 years.
County officials say JPMorgan, which operates a small fleet of private jets, will make the hangar into a "state of the art green building," county spokeswoman Donna Greene said in a written statement.
"JPMorgan is a high quality corporate citizen and has an established record as a reliable tenant of the airport," Greene added. "The proposal from JP Morgan is the best deal for county taxpayers and the best deal for the environment."
JPMorgan has taken $25 billion in federal bailout money, but says none of those funds will go toward the hangar. The bank also is not involved in any of the lawsuits.
There will be a meeting Monday of Westchester's Board of Legislators, which has yet to approve the new lease.
And on top of the hangar controversy, JPMorgan is going ahead with plans to spend $120 million on two new corporate jets, reports ABC News.
"It's a remarkably boneheaded decision," Nell Minow, the editor and founder of The Corporate Library, a group that provides independent corporate governance research and analysis told ABC News. "It's completely tone deaf."
In January, Citigroup took heat for its plan to spend $50 million on a new jet. Executives eventually returned the jet.