State plane flew after cost-savings announcement

INDIANAPOLIS - The Governor’s office has announced the state has sold its plane two months after Gov. Mike Pence announced it would be sold for budget reasons.

The 2001 Beechcraft Super King Air B2000 twin turbine aircraft was sold Jan. 30 for $1.8 million, which was $134,000 above asking price, according to a news release issued Monday.

American Aviation from Brooksville, Fla. purchased the state plane, and the new owners took possession on Feb. 6.

The Governor’s office announced the plane would be sold in a Dec. 9 news release about cost-saving measures to address a $141 million budget shortfall.

"I even put the state’s plane up for sale," Pence said in his January State of the State address. "If you know anyone looking for a great deal on a Beechcraft King Air 200, give me a call!"

Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney submitted a records request asking why the state plane was flown four times since the Governor’s December budget announcement, as well how much the plane is costing taxpayers.

Records show on Dec. 10, Pence and six staff members flew to Louisville, Ky.

On Dec. 11, three Indiana State Police officers flew the plane to Galveston, Texas for a prisoner transport.

On Dec. 19, Pence and five staff members flew to Fort Wayne.

Pence returned to Fort Wayne via state plane, with three staff members, on Jan. 9.

"Staff with Governor Pence’s office advise the three flights with Gov. Pence were related to the Governor’s 2014 legislative agenda and to thank first responders for their efforts in the first major storm of the season," ISP Capt. Dave Bursten said in an email.

State records show between July 1, 2013 and January 31, 2014 the King Air cost $35,839 in fuel and maintenance.

The hangar lease for all aircraft cost $33,998 for the same time period, records show.

According to a news release issued Monday, the state plans to use funds received from the sale to help support public safety duties of the Indiana State Police.

For more details on which staff members flew on each flight click here -- http://bit.ly/1jr6Ryb

Follow Kara Kenney on Twitter: @karakenney6 | Facebook: KaraKenneyNews

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