Swift Air CFO unaware of $1.5M ‘bridge loan’


Nick Huska, chief financial officer of Swift Air, was not aware that their company had asked Saipan Air Inc. for a “bridge loan” of $1.5 million that was apparently urgently needed to perform their agreement with Saipan Air.

In his deposition, Huska stated that he does not recall knowing that in May and June of 2012, Swift Air then-chief restructuring officer Donald A. Stukes was negotiating with Saipan Air Inc. for an additional sum of $1.5 million that Stukes had styled as a “bridge loan.”

Huska also does not recall if he ever heard of any discussions about possibly getting more money from Saipan Air to enable Swift Air to perform the ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance) agreement that it signed.

Huska also replied that he does not know anything about a discussion about a personal guarantee for obtaining a loan in May or June 2012 relating to the Saipan Air operations.

Saipan Air Inc. filed last week in federal court excerpts of Huska’s deposition of testimony that was taken by Saipan Air counsel Steven Pixley last August in Phoenix, Arizona.

Pixley disclosed in court documents that on May 31, 2012, Swift Air then-chief executive officer Jeffrey Conry called Saipan Air chief operating officer Adam Ferguson several times on the phone, stating that they urgently needed a $1.5 million in “bridge loan” in order to perform their agreement with Saipan Air.

Pixley said Conry introduced Saipan Air to Stukes at this time.

Pixley said Stukes identified himself as a “financial advisor” affiliated with ASI Advisors LLC, but failed to disclose to Saipan Air that he was a minority owner of Swift Air.

Pixley said Stukes expressly represented to Saipan Air during these discussions that the defendants would be able to perform the Saipan Air program if the $1.5 million was paid.

In its lawsuit, Saipan Air is seeking $2,541,370.78 in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages against Conry and Swift Air director of operations Boris Van Lier.

Last month, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ruled that Saipan Air’s fraud claim against Conry and Van Lier shall proceed, but not against Stukes.

The trial, which will commence Feb. 2, will be against Conry and Van Lier relating to the fraud claims.

Conry and Van Lier are currently employed by Arizona-based Swift Air, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2013.

Saipan Air filed the racketeering lawsuit against Conry, Van Lier, and Stukes in July 2012.

Swift Air filed for bankruptcy protection in Arizona shortly after notifying Saipan Air that it would not deliver two 757 aircraft and one 737 aircraft for Saipan Air’s program. Saipan Air was unable to sue Swift Air directly because of the bankruptcy filing.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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