CNB sells corporate airplane
In this 2008 photo, the eight-seat King Air C90B airplane that Cherokee Nation Businesses formerly owned sits in a hanger at the city airport in Tahlequah, Okla. Cherokee Nation Enterprises, now Cherokee Nation Entertainment, purchased the turbo-propeller plane in 2008 for $2 million. The plane’s flight logs and operating costs became a campaign issue in the 2011 principal’s chief race. ARCHIVE PHOTO
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – In an effort to cut costs and improve efficiencies, Cherokee Nation Businesses announced on March 30 that it has sold its corporate plane, which should save the tribe more than $400,000 annually.
“The proceeds from the sale of the plane will go directly into Contract Health (Service),” said Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “There is always a real need to better serve the health concerns of the Cherokee Nation, and this sale will help a few more citizens receive desperately needed services.”
The plane was sold for $1.58 million to Jackson Demolition of Albany, N.Y., according to CN Communications officials. The plane’s net book value is $1.3 million, according to a CNB press release.
Officials said CNB used a professional broker to bid out the plane. Through the sale, CNB will save by eliminating the plane and its hangar-associated expenses, including maintenance and fuel.
“As the economic engine of the Cherokee Nation, it is the responsibility of CNB to be fiscally conservative in order to maximize our contributions to the tribe,” CNB Executive Vice President Shawn Slaton said. “When Chief Baker took office he asked us to look for ways to streamline business costs and become more efficient. After examining our historical usage of the plane, we found the ongoing maintenance and associated expenses did not warrant CNB owning and maintaining a C-90B Raytheon King Air.”
Cherokee Nation Entertainment purchased the eight-seat plane in 2007 for $1.87 million, which replaced an older model plane that the tribe owned. According to flight records, the plane was used primarily by previous administrations for tribal business.
The plane became a topic of debate between former Principal Chief Chad Smith and current Principal Chief Bill John Baker during the 2011 election. One of Baker’s campaign promises was to sell the plane if he were to become chief.
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