Google chiefs travel on YOUR tax dollars after NASA sell them cut price fuel for their private jets

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  • Investigation finds firm owned by Google execs keeps  jets at Nasa facility
  • There it  buys fuel at prices from a half to nearly a fifth of market  rate
  • Planes used  to jet off to exotic locations across the planet
  • Google says  arrangement has actually left Nasa $2million BETTER  OFF

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 04:42 EST, 25  September 2013 |  UPDATED: 07:14 EST, 25 September 2013

Google executives have been jetting across  the world in planes run on cheap fuel subsidised by Nasa and the U.S. Department  of Defense, an investigation has revealed.

A company owned by Google’s founders has  bought millions of dollars worth of jet fuel at below market prices from Nasa’s  Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, near San Francisco, California.

It has also emerged that keeping the planes  at the federal site has enabled the owners to avoid hefty property taxes,  potentially amounting to $500,000 per plane per year.

Larry PageGoogle Executive Chairman Eric SchmidtGoogle co-founder Sergey Brin in San Francisco on June 27, 2012

‘Sweetheart deal’: Google co-founders Sergey Brin, left,  and Larry Page, centre, and its executive chairman Eric Schmidt, right, are the  principals of H211, which owns seven private jets and buys cheap fuel direct  from Nasa

The investigation by NBC Bay Area News found that nearly $8million worth of fuel,  sold for as little as $1.68 a gallon, has been put into a fleet of seven  aircraft and two helicopters owned by H211.

The same fuel sells for two to nearly five  times that amount at other nearby airports in the Bay Area.

H211 is a limited liability company whose  principals are the also the principals of Google, including founders Larry Page  and Sergey Brin, and executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

The apparent sweetheart deal with the Google  men was made possible under a so-called Nasa Space Agreement allowing their  planes to be kept at Moffett Field since 2007.

The site happens to be less than three miles  from Google’s global headquarters.

H211 initially agreed to pay the space agency  $113,365.74 a month in rent – a price subsequently slashed to $108,938.62 a  month after it allowed Nasa to borrow the planes for experiments.

But figures seen by NBC in May last year  showed that of the 1,039 flights to date, only 155 were used for science.

Meanwhile, the planes, which include five  Gulfstream Vs, a Boeing 757 and a Boeing 767,  used below-market-rate fuel  to travel to such exotic destinations as London, Paris, Cancun, Scotland, Puerto  Vallarta, Hawaii, Liberia and Tahiti.

Keeping the jets at Moffett Field also gives  H211 a tax break. Property kept on federal sites is exempt from the tallying for  local property taxes, which means the company pays no county taxes on the  aircraft kept there.

Santa Clara County Assessor Lawrence Stone  told NBC that the exemption means that local government is losing out on  between  $400,000 and $500,000 in property taxes per plane per  year.

Hangar One at Moffett Field: Keeping the planes at the federal site has enabled the owners to avoid hefty property taxes, potentially amounting to $500,000 per plane per year, the investigation has foundHangar One at Moffett Field: Keeping the planes  at the  federal site has enabled the owners to avoid hefty property  taxes, potentially  amounting to $500,000 per plane per year, the  investigation has found

Jamie Court, the president and chairman of  Consumer Watchdog, called the arrangement ‘the greatest sweetheart deal in the  history of Nasa’.

‘There’s no reason these billionaires should  be getting cheaper gas, like the Army, when they’re not doing anything for the  government,’ he told NBC.

‘This is all a ruse to have a landing strip  to go party around the world at some of the nicest resorts and the nicest  parties with rock stars and celebrities.

‘And it’s all being financed by the  taxpayer.’

Conveniently located: The site happens to be less than three miles from Google's global headquartersConveniently located: The site happens to be less than  three miles from Google’s global headquarters

A spokesman for Nasa said the arrangement  gave the agency a ‘unique component of support’ for its earth science missions  to measure ozone and greenhouse gases.

Google referred NBC’s enquiries to H211,  whose vice president, Ken Ambrose, said that the company pays the full retail  cost for hangar space ‘that includes none of the ground support typically  included’ elsewhere.

He furthermore said that, far from the  taxpayer losing out, Nasa were in fact $2million better off thanks to the  deal.

Following enquiries from NBC Bay Area’s  journalists, the Department of Defense announced that the government will stop  selling jet fuel to H211 from August 31, 2013.

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