New York Indicts Former British Airways Executive In $5 Million Bribery Scheme

Former British Airways Executive Steven Clark allegedly received $5 million for help securing ground handling contracts at New York JFK and other British Airways stations in the U.S. Clark headed Terminal 7 operations at JFK.

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. British Airways leases JFK Terminal 7 from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority). 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.

new york jfk terminal 7
New York JFK Terminal 7

The New York Attorney General alleges that Clark received “up to $18,000 per month for his promotion and protection of [the ground handling company] within British Airways” and was also given a 5% stake in the company which was cashed out for $3.6 million when it was sold to dnata.

Ground handler 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.”

The indictment also alleges that the British Airways executive took more than $500,000 in payoffs “from another airport vendor for the purpose of influencing Clark’s conduct related to his position at British Airways” receiving $7730 a month for non-existent consulting services.

I’m actually somewhat sympathetic to the defendant here because New York JFK is, after all, owned by the Port Authority of New York New Jersey and it’s I think it’s reasonable to assume that’s just how business is done there.

(HT: @justinbachman)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. First of all, Gary is right. Bribery is absolutely the fundamental principle of government in New York. I recently spoke with a guy who got a lucrative contract to build out a government owned space in New York. He said he’d been trying to break into the New York construction market for years and was told on many occasions to just pay a bribe. He resisted for years and finally delivered a bag of cash to a public employee and got the contract.

    Second thing about this story is that no one ever gets caught for this behaviors which I’m sure had nothing to do with the fact that the people receiving bribes are part of the same public union as the police.

    But wait this guy did get caught and did you notice something that he probably didn’t understand the importance of? He works for British Airways so he’s not a member of the public employees union. Next time he’ll know.

  2. Maybe I read this wrong but the Port Authority wasn’t involved in this all. A BA exec was bribed by private contractors. And for the poster who connected it to the Democrats, one of the two states that control the PANYNJ (NJ) was governed at the time of the bribes by a Republican (Chris Christie) who had appointed a crony to run the agency (remember Bridge gate)?

  3. @Gary, how can you feel sympathetic to the employee? Bribery is bribery, it’s irrelevant that this is the way it’s done. The whole thing had nothing to do with the Port Authority, it was between a crooked employee and a crooked contractor. The victims here were British Airways and the travelling public, us, who ultimately pay for the bribe. That’s where your sympathies should be.

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