Thursday, December 7, 2023

Former Newport News/Williamsburg Airport Director found guilty on 23 charges

The former director of the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport will face some time behind bars after he was found guilty of a slew of federal charges.

A federal jury convicted Ken Spirito on Tuesday on 23 charges, including intentional misapplication of funds, money laundering, false declaration, perjury and obstruction of justice.

The 47-year-old was once the executive director over the airport in Newport News from 2009 to 2017.

In 2014, he led an effort to start an airline called People Express Airlines, Inc. (PEX) and get a $5 million loan from TowneBank. However, he intentionally misapplied various state and federally regulated funds to provide the cash collateral for the loan. The loan was guaranteed by the Peninsula Airport Commission.

PEX subsequently suspended operations in September 2014 and the Peninsula Airport Commission was forced to default on the loan.

Spirito also gave false information to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the source of the loan payments. 

Then in 2019, he gave false testimony in a civil deposition on his role in the decision to do the loan guarantee and the money he used as collateral.

He will be sentenced on June 10 and faces 10 to 20 years in prison across each count of conviction.

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