SANTA MONICA, CA. -- Giving a Google corporate subsidiary control of Moffett Field, as announced today by the General Services Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, wrongly rewards the Internet giant’s executives for longstanding abuses at Ames Research Center, Consumer Watchdog said.
In December a NASA audit found that the jet fleet owned through a company called H211 by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Co-Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin received an unwarranted discount worth up to $5.3 million on jet fuel purchased from the government.
NASA and the GSA today announced that they “have selected Planetary Ventures LLC [a Google subsidiary] as the preferred lessee on a lease to rehabilitate historic Hangar One and to manage Moffett Federal Airfield, currently managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center.”
“This is like giving the keys to your car to the guy who has been siphoning gas from your tank,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director. “It is unfairly rewarding unethical and wrongful behavior. These Google guys seem to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it – and it’s beginning to look like that is true.”
Read the NASA and GSA news release here: http://www.nasa.gov/ames/gsa-nasa-competitively-select-preferred-lessee/#.UvlSO14nttc
In December NASA Inspector General Paul Martin wrote:
“Specifically, we calculated that since inception of its lease H211 paid approximately $3.3 million to $5.3 million less in fuel costs that it would have paid to buy fuel at market rates compared to the amount it paid DLA-Energy. We also found that H211 received a significant discount on fuel for its many non-NASA-related flights to which it was not entitled. While this arrangement did not cause an economic loss to NASA or DLA-Energy, it did result in considerable savings for H211 and engendered a sense of unfairness and a perception of favoritism toward H211 and its owners. Accordingly, we recommend that NASA explore with the company possible options to remedy this situation.”
When the audit was issued Simpson said:
“These billionaire Google guys parked their luxury jets at Ames under the guise of doing science, but three-quarters of the flights had nothing to do with NASA. They were just gallivanting around the globe. NASA needs to wipe slate clean and throw them out.”
Read the Inspector General’s audit here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/nasa_h211.pdf
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