Response to M Roland

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Mr. Roland you have me confused. How can the William's be responsible for $30,000 living expenses?

Are you trying to say that the living expense money went in to the Willams' pockets? This would be news to me! I think it would be news to Key Loans as well!

And certainly, the Williams' are not responsible for any loan fees.

I have chosen to move on. We all can do the same.

You may be out $90,000, but the Williams' didn't get that money, or at least not all of it.

Your debt will be paid off eventually. They will be have that Chapter 7 liquidation and whatever else they get from the courts for the rest of their lives. I worked with Rob and Melissa for 11 months. I never saw a couple bust their collective asses to they extent they did to try and get interviews with regional airlines for their students. Rob was away from home schmoozing CEOs, pumping Chief Pilots with air, etc. Melissa was there working hard.

And during all this Rob was still a critically important member of the CRJ development team. He sat there 12 hrs a day when the technicians (who he paid to fly in from France) were there to repair that beast. Rob cared about quality. I know one was more disappointed at that shutdown than Rob Williams. I'm sure he has tremendous guilt feelings, and feels like he let a lot of people down, but I saw him leave on Thursday. He was down, down, down! He told me that the last bank had said no, and there was no financing available for the school. I said how much did he need? "A couple million, and now." was his response.

He and Melissa looked like someone had died, and I guess someone had. It was the Dream of having a successful life.

It's a tragedy that all the students dreams were damaged as well, but if you can tell me what else they could have done, then what?

Don't say give the students advance notice. That would have been suicidal. As soon as the rumor mill passed around anything about ATA having financial problems they would never get another student.

Don't say give money back. They didn't have it! It was already taken by collectors.

It was an ugly situation and I certainly learned from it.

Bad management? YES Bad decisions? DEFINITELY Bad timing? REALLY BAD. But bad people? I don't think so. I don't feel that they intentionally set out to bilk anyone or do anything criminal. At least not Rob and Melissa. I didn't have much to do with any of the others.
 

smokey1

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
It's pretty easy to move on when all you've lost is a few thousand dollars. However, if you are a young man, 33 years old, now owing nearly $90,000 for 4 months training that did not quite finish his private pilot's license, who has spent two months fruitlessly looking for a job in this depressed job market -- a job he wasn't supposed to have to look for -- he was promised that, for all this money, if he worked hard, which he did, he had a 97% chance to be a commercial pilot -- --- then, Mr. Tenney, it's not so easy to just move on.

If you think this only hurts the more than 400 student pilots who have banded together because they have had their money and their dreams stolen by the Williams, you're wrong. It also hurts every person who loves each of these 400 students. Not only has it financially devastated my son, if my husband and I try to help him, we are too old for our retirement funds to recover the loss.

Any why should any of us have to pay $90,000 for virtually nothing?

Tell you what, Mr. Tenney. You give us $90,000 and we'll move right on. Won't mention it again.

[/ QUOTE ]

that sucks.......$90,000 for basically joyriding in a 172
 

M_Roland

New Member
Re: Response to JT

QUOTE:Are you trying to say that the living expense money went in to the Willams' pockets?

Every dime from Key Bank went to ATA first. Then the student had to try and wrangle enough money away from ATA to buy groceries, gas, etc.for those who lived in student housing because ATA kept ALL the living expense money and paid the rent themselves. This is because they were charging the students a whopping amount more than they were paying the apartment complex. The closer they got to closing the school, the harder it became to get them to release any of the students' own living expense money.

QUOTE:You may be out $90,000 . . .Your debt will be paid off eventually. They will be have that Chapter 7 liquidation . . . for the rest of their lives.

It may be a cinch for you to pay off $90,000, but more than likely, my son will also "have that Chapter 7 liquidation for the rest of his life." Some of the students have already filed Chapter 7.

QUOTE:Who takes 4 months to get a private license?

Anybody who tried to get one at ATA. The first full month was ground school. They didn't have enough planes and the ones they had were in terrible condition and often weren't flight worthy. Add that to Florida's weather and a student might get to fly 3 or 4 hours a week.

QUOTE: Bad management? YES Bad decisions? DEFINITELY Bad timing? REALLY BAD. But bad people? I don't think so. I don't feel that they intentionally set out to bilk anyone or do anything criminal. At least not Rob and Melissa. I didn't have much to do with any of the others.

And I'm sure they just had the same bad management, bad decisions, bad timing problems with the other <font color="red"> 14 </font> companies I found with which they had done the same thing since 1981. And I didn't find all the companies they had. I only found ones in Florida, Texas, and Kentucky.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
Re: Response to JT

Don't take this post the wrong way, but I want to know what person in their right mind would take out $30,000 for living expenses for the time spent there and for a little time afterwards?

I have been living on my own the last 4 years and I haven't reached the $10,000 mark for living. I mean come on, lets not be so wastefull with money here. I truly feel awful for the students that lost their money with that whole fiasco.
 

JJPilot

Well-Known Member
Re: Response to JT

[ QUOTE ]
Don't take this post the wrong way, but I want to know what person in their right mind would take out $30,000 for living expenses for the time spent there and for a little time afterwards?

[/ QUOTE ]

I am not sure what the cost of living is like in ND, but Central FL is a tourist industry you are lucky to find a meal for less than $10! As for taking out that money... when you are unable to hold a job because you find out your flight schedule at 7 PM the prior day it makes it pretty necessary to take that full amount!

Just an FYI... average rent in Orlando is $1000/mo for a 3 bedroom... so that is $333 PLUS utilities! that is $4000 just for rent for one year... not including utilties... add (conservatively) $500 for that year!
Now, for those who moved here... how much would that be?
and those taking ATA's housing offer which was almost (I may be wrong) $750 a month... RIGHT THERE IS $10,000!
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
Re: Response to JT

My rent is around $800 a month here, with 2 roommates. Yeah, it is a college town so they prices are higher, but I still don't buy that someone would need $30,000 for living expenses. I have also lived in Nebraska and Las Vegas where the rent was about the same as it is here.
 

hammer

New Member
Re: Response to JT

Yep, I had almost forgotten about the other failed ventures with Jim's name on them. The restaurant, the airline charter service, the travel agency, the limo service .... to name a few. All went belly up. Add ATA and Discover Air to the list and you've got what is just an amazing list of companies - none of which exist anymore - but all of which were "involuntarily dissolved" by the courts. I don't care how nice or how hard working the Williams family are. They have zero business sense and based on their habitual inability to keep the doors of a company open, they should never be allowed to own/operate so much as a lemonade stand again.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
Re: Response to JT

Well, I can KINDA justify the $30K for living expenses. Since a) it is assumed the student will be going to school full time and have no life or job since he doesn't get his schedule until the night before b) Central FL isn't the cheapest place in the world (I'm paying $730 for a ONE bedroom by the airport) c) some of that money was borrowed to help pay the loans once he was done with school, knowing that the FO job would not be the best paying at first.

Right now, I'd KILL to be able to live on $10K a year. That wouldn't even cover rent, much less my car, gas, insurance, electricity, phone, water, and oh yeah, I have to eat.
Maybe my parents will let me move back in.....
 

JJPilot

Well-Known Member
Re: Response to JT

[ QUOTE ]
some of that money was borrowed to help pay the loans once he was done with school, knowing that the FO job would not be the best paying at first.

[/ QUOTE ]
This is the big one too... WE KNEW that we would not be making much... we took the extra money to help make the $875/mo payment once we got a job as FO making $20

Not to mention... some of us are not college age, granted I do not know how old you are, but a good friend of mine moved his entire family (wife, 4 kids) and do you think they can all live off of 10,000 a year?

Thre are reasons for everything we did... not all of these people were 19-23 years old... in fact I would venture to say the average age was 28-33; we have cars, bills MORTGAGES (10K would not even cover 9 months for me personally)

See where I am coming from ?
 

SierraPilot

New Member
Re: Response to JT

[ QUOTE ]
I have been living on my own the last 4 years and I haven't reached the $10,000 mark for living. I mean come on, lets not be so wastefull with money here. I truly feel awful for the students that lost their money with that whole fiasco.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hmm... did you say you are in college??? ok lets do the math.. 800 a month / 3 people = 266 a month x 4 years = 12768. Now if we include food, gas, utilities, car insurance and or payment, credit cards, misc bills, etc.. its not hard to add up the expenses although I would agree that 30,000 for 1 yr does seem a little excessive.. 15000 would sound more about right for 1 year depending on his bills.

Ryan
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
Re: Response to JT

Yeah it is college life. The $10,000 was a rough estimate, but I have only lived in this apartment for a year. I have lived in a couple other places that were cheaper (dorms, and shared a 2 bedroom apt with 4 guys).

While I understand if a guy moved a wife and 4 kids to school that it would take a lot to live off of, but I still don't think it would take $30,000. You guys said it yourself, living off of a regional first officer's salary doesn't pay anything, so why on earth would you take out that much money? IMO, they did it because they tried to take a shortcut to the airlines and they got screwed. I feel really bad what happened to everyone, but I can't believe there were 400 students willing to hand all of thier money to strangers and let them deal with it.
 

AnotherWife

New Member
Re: Response to JT

Come on, folks. Have you lost sight of the real issue here? It's not whether this kid overestimated how much it would cost him to live -- it's that these unscrupulous people stole his money!

Maybe, by all your estimates, they wouldn't have been able to steal as much of his money. But they deserve your criticism here, not him.

BTW, I'd love to learn how to live on $10k a year.
 

SierraPilot

New Member
Re: Response to JT

[ QUOTE ]
I can't believe there were 400 students willing to hand all of thier money to strangers and let them deal with it.

[/ QUOTE ]

Actually that is very common in Part 141 academies, with the exception of FSA which really is "THE EXCEPTION" as that is not very common for a academy to hand over the money to the student. This agreement is usually set between the bank and the school.

I know at Sierra the school gets all the money and is put into a student account and they draw from it as we progress as well as give living disbursements. While we are welcome to ask for a ledger to see how our money was spent at any given time, this is a common practice academies use and as such we do in practice hand over our money to strangers to manage. Since the schools discourage working its not uncommon to factor in your cost of living to your loan to allow for living disbursements from the school.

I've venture to guess if you added up all the students from the big academies minus FSA you would find more than 400 students have handed over there money to stangers ie: the school.

Ryan
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
Re: Response to JT

[ QUOTE ]
Actually that is very common in Part 141 academies

[/ QUOTE ]

Should it be common practice. No, it shouldn't. I wonder why FSA doesn't do it. My guess is that they are a reputable company that understands that is how it is done.

I came up with the number 400 from how many students were left out on the street at ATA. You are right, I am sure there are thousands that do it.

I attend a part 141 school (UND) and every flight student has control of THEIR money. You know why, because it is theirs. You can take out money when needed and add it anytime you want to, over the phone or in person.

Some students add money every week to their flight account so they can earn interest in their own savings account.I thought about doing that, but when I found out we accrue interest in our flight accounts if the balance is over $1000 I decided not to. The most I will put in my flight account is $5000 just in case something bad happens. I don't think it will happen because our money is kept away from the airport and the aerospace school. Everytime we pay it is to the business office of UND so if there ever was a problem, we wouldn't be out thousands of dollars.
 

M_Roland

New Member
Re: $30,000 living expenses and paying all up front

Quote:
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I can't believe there were 400 students willing to hand all of thier money to strangers and let them deal with it.
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One of the reasons the student pilots were willing to pay all up front was that, for doing that, the price for the course was guaranteed. You weren't supposed to have to worry about having to pay for more flight hours than you had budgeted for. You knew exactly how much the entire course, from beginning to end, was going to cost. Also, this place advertised a 97% hire rate and guaranteed interviews with certain commuter airlines who had agreed to hire its graduates with fewer hours than normal. Therefore, a student was supposed to be able to finish the course and be employed in 1 year.

Of course, no student in the history of the school ever finished the course in 1 year. They didn't have enough planes; the ones they had were mechanically unsound; and the mechanics really weren't allowed to do all the work that needed to be done. Therefore, students got only a few hours a week of flying time. Sometimes a whole week could go by with no flights at all. But no one knew this until after they got there.

And for those who keep harping on $30,000 living expenses for one year, I reiterate,

it was $15,000 for 1 year (which included funds for any necessary repairs/upkeep on his home which he was renting to someone); and the remainder to cover

approximately 2 years of loan payments at $550 to $600/mo (depending on the rise in interest rates) which would total $13,200 to $14,400.

Would one of you knowledgeable commercial pilots please inform these people of the approximate first and second year salaries of brand new pilots with the minimum number of flight hours at commuter airlines (which is where the graduates of ATA expected to go since, they were told by ATA, big airlines weren't hiring but commuter airlines were taking up the routes the biggies were dropping and were hiring pilots.)

And as any ADULT knows, however much you think any long-term project is going to cost, it's going to cost more than that; so you better be prepared and not get caught short.

And since he DIDN'T EXPECT IT TO GET STOLEN, he expected to pay any leftover money back into the loan. He just wanted to make sure he had enough so that nothing would get in the way of his being a pilot this time.

He had been accepted for officer's training and pilot school by the Marines but developed cancer. The Marine Flight Surgeon recommended that the waiting period after cancer treatment be waived because my son was in such excellent condition but they refused. The waiting period is so long that it made him too old to go.

A 33-year old man has expenses and responsibilities that a college kid has yet to imagine. Did it ever occur to you that you need health insurance and how much that costs a month? Because of his having had cancer, he must have VERY expensive medical tests every 12 months to ensure he is still cancer-free. In addition, as he says, "There's no way I can take a chance that it might come back and not have medical insurance to cover the hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical expenses."
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
Re: $30,000 living expenses and paying all up front

[ QUOTE ]
A 33-year old man has expenses and responsibilities that a college kid has yet to imagine. Did it ever occur to you that you need health insurance and how much that costs a month?

[/ QUOTE ]

Actually I do have a clue. I think they started teaching that stuff in middle school. They told us, "Never take out loans to pay off more loans, that is how you get into debt." I have stuck by this and will never take out more money then needed.

I know what happened to the students was a crock, but how did they steal money? I am not trying to start something bad, but how did it get stolen as you put it. I know students paid them upfront and people paid for training they didn't get, but when they filed for Ch. 7, don't all assets go to debtors first like banks and what not?

Can anyone clairify this for me?
 

M_Roland

New Member
How did they steal it?

In the first place, they didn't file bankruptcy. They just locked the doors. The students had to unite, take up money, hire a lawyer, and force them into involuntary Federal Bankruptcy.

Have you ever heard of offshore bank accounts? Have you ever heard of shell companies? The FBI and The Federal Bankruptcy Trustee think that they have both. They had an airline named Discover Air that they were trying to get off the ground. They were taking the students' tuition money out of ATA and pouring it into Discover Air. I don't think anybody ever flew on Discover Air. Not many, anyhow. Then, in researching all the companies they had opened and closed in the last 20 years, I found out that they had TWO companies incorporated named Discover Air: one named Discover Air, Inc. and the other named Discover Air Airlines, Inc. This is how people set up shell companies to funnel money through.

There were some rumors by people who were around their offices in the weeks before they closed, that $100,000 a day was leaving the US by one of their planes and going to an island bank.

By the time they were forced into bankruptcy, there were no assets, in spite of the fact that they took in money for several new students the last week for $50,000 to $60,000 each knowing they were going to close. And their creditors will take issue with Mr. Tenney about his thinking they paid bills with the money. That's not what they were saying at the Creditors' Meeting on May 12, 2003.

That's how they steal. And it's not the first time. They closed a flight school in Dallas, too. They are reputed to have had a school in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, that they may have closed. The one they had in Sanford, Florida, they sold to Comair, but they still had some lawsuits filed on them by students.

I assure you that the FBI would not waste its time investigating if there were not plenty of evidence of wrong-doing. And the FBI has been actively on the case since March, 2003.

Now the FBI is investigating Key Bank Corp., the bank that ATA pushed the students to get their loans with. The bank did some really fishy things in some cases, and out-and-out illegal in other cases, like:
-- Sending money to ATA when students hadn't even signed a contract with ATA.
-- Sending money to ATA from two weeks to two months prior to the students' start dates. (The banks starts building interest on the loan the day the money is sent to ATA.)
-- Approving students for non-secured loans of $50,000 and more immediately (when the same students had been rejected on the bank's internet site) as soon as ATA's rep called them.
--Neglecting to cancel disbursements to ATA when directed to do so by students.
-- Never providing a Truth in Lending Statement to some students.
-- Not performing a thorough investigation of ATA's financial situation when notified by numbers of students having difficulty getting their guaranteed refunds. They had been told by the ATA Treas. it would be a year or more before they could get the refunds.

This is only a partial list of the things Key Bank did.
 

smokey1

Well-Known Member
Re: How did they steal it?

You guys got robbed. At the same time, you should have done your homework. If your son belived he was going to be sitting in the right seat of an RJ with 300 hours then he didn't do his. There is no easy way to an airline job. I feel sorry for your son, but when he visited the school he should have talked to some of the students. If weeks were going by without any flights someone would have spoken up. In time this situation should be resolved, at least I hope so, because it is not fair for your son to have a red flag on his credit report over some money he doesn't have any skills to show for.
Smokey..........................................................................
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
Re: How did they steal it?

Finally Mr. Roland is returning to the ways of sanity. I agree that Key Loans is a major part of the misdeeds in the ATA debacle.

They were caught holding on to some large sums of money as well.

That whole Key Bank pilot loan thingie is pretty sketchy if you ask me.
 
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