Thompson grounded

Jan 20, 2013 @ 12:01 am

Amid dealing with defaults on note programs and commercial real estate, the highflying real estate mogul Tony Thompson has been grounded.

Mr. Thompson, through a company he controls, TT Aviation LLC, sold his private jet last May to General Electric Capital Corp., which often serves as a lender in airplane financing.

According to a listing on Jet Net.com, he bought the new jet, a Hawker 400XP, in 2008. The listing shows two liens on the aircraft totaling $30,462 during the time that Mr. Thompson owned it.

One was filed in January 2012, before he sold the jet. The other was filed May 10, the same day of the sale.

Details of the sale weren't available.

“That airplane is probably worth $2.1 million to $2.2 million,” said Wes Ray, executive sales director with Avpro Inc., an aircraft brokerage firm.

Private jets such as the Hawker 400XP are extremely expensive to maintain.

“The annual budget, including flying, is between $200,000 to $300,000,” Mr. Ray said.

When asked if the plane had been repossessed, Mr. Thompson last week wrote in an e-mail that such a characterization of the transaction was “bad info.”

He didn't respond to a follow-up asking why he sold the plane.

Mr. Thompson has been a big earner known for a lavish lifestyle. In 2006, he earned $4.8 million as chairman of NNN Realty Advisors, of which he owned or controlled 26% of the common stock, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It isn't clear how much Mr. Thompson made in 2007 when he merged that business, a packager of real estate securities known as tenant-in-common exchanges, with Grubb & Ellis Co., which filed for bankruptcy court protection last year.

— Bruce Kelly

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