Corporate Jet Expenses for 2003 Through 2005
Special Update (7/27/2007)
We have been informed by a former 3ABN employee that in 2003, the Mitsubishi jet had to have a blown engine
replaced for $500,000. If this information is correct, it is possible that the category "Airplane operation"
on page 12 of the 2003 Financial Statement and Auditor's Report
did not include this amount.
Was the Cessna Citation VI a Lavish Expense?
One area of controversy in recent years has been 3ABN president Danny Shelton's use of a corporate jet
rather than a more economical means of travel. However, concern for such a lavish expense was somewhat quieted
by the widely spread rumor that a particular donor was covering perhaps $30,000 to $40,000 per month
of the total cost, and we went so far as to mention that on
Yet as rumors go, a number of sources have now confirmed that that particular donor has not been footing
the bill after all. While Ellsworth McKee contributed toward the purchase of the smaller Mitsubishi Diamond,
he has not been contributing that amount each month for the larger, leased Cessna Citation.
So how much has that jet plane been costing 3ABN's donors? Documents filed by 3ABN with the Illinois Attorney
General's office tell all.
Jet Expenses for 2003
The 2003 Form AG990-IL is a simple
two-page summary of 3ABN's financial situation. It lists net assets of $20,798,407 and total revenue
for the year of $11,481,779. All these figures should compare with the 2003
Form 990 filed both with the U.S. Government and the State of Illinois.
3ABN's 2003 Financial Statement and Auditor's Report
is where the figure for the plane is found. See page 12 where "Airplane operation" is said to cost
$857,528.60, which is roughly 7.5% of the total revenue received for the entire year.
Notice another category down the list entitled "Travel and entertainment" which amounted to
$142,229.68. Notice also how the total "Television and Radio Broadcast Expenses" are listed as $9,665,662.90,
of which "Airplane operation" amounts to 8.9% of that total.
Jet Expenses for 2004
Was 2003 a freak year with the plane costing that much? Not at all.
The 2004 Form AG990-IL lists net assets
of $19,952,817 and total revenue for the year of $13,975,137. (See also the 2004
Page 12 of 3ABN's 2004 Financial Statement and
Auditor's Report lists "Airplane operation" as costing $989,438.91, which would be roughly 7.1%
of the total revenue received for the entire year. So while plane expenses were up by $130,000, the
percentage of total revenue being spent on the jet declined by a little less than 0.4%.
"Travel and entertainment" amounted to an additional $154,654.42. Total "Television and Radio Broadcast Expenses"
ran $10,465,779.14, and thus "Airplane operation" came to about 9.5% of that total figure.
Jet Expenses for 2005
The year 2005 went better. The 2005
Form AG990-IL lists net assets of $19,470,323 and total revenue for the year of $14,956,597.
(See also the 2005 Form 990.)
Page 13 of 3ABN's 2005 Financial Statement and
Auditor's Report lists "Airplane operation" as costing $896,993.46, which is about 6.0%
of the total revenue received for the entire year. So both the total jet expenses and the
percentage of total revenue being spent on the jet declined significantly over the previous year.
"Travel and entertainment" amounted to an additional $197,785.21. Total "Television and Radio Broadcast Expenses"
ran $11,121,126.31, and thus "Airplane operation" came to only about 8.1% of that total figure.
Presumably because of growing criticism and declining revenue, 3ABN no longer leases the corporate jet
as of May or June or so, 2007. Time will tell if a different jet is being rented by the flight or if
commercial airlines are now being utilized.
The timing of letting go the jet may be opportune. With legal bills mounting over the
lawsuit 3ABN and Danny Shelton
filed against Joy and Pickle, the extra cash saved by not having the jet can now be
redirected, if need be, to cover those legal expenses.
On second thought, while the extra cash may be able to be redirected to cover 3ABN's legal expenses, we
are uncertain whether it can be used to pay for Danny's legal expenses. But maybe if it gets reported on
3ABN's Form 990 and Danny's W-2 as part of his compensation package, that would make a difference.
We wonder, how are the two law firms splitting up the legal costs between the two Plaintiffs?