Inland Valley Development Agency finance director named

SAN BERNARDINO >> A federal audit manager has been tapped as the new finance director for the Inland Valley Development Agency and San Bernardino International Airport Authority.

William Garay, a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and California State University San Bernardino, is set to begin his new post before Feb. 15, agency officials said Friday.

It completes a restructuring of the airport’s middle management as the airport continues on its long road to revitalizing its image and attract new business, airport Executive Director A.J. Wilson said.

Since Wilson took over the airport, he has appointed Mark Gibbs as director of aviation and Michael Burrows, the airport’s former assistant director, deputy director of construction and development.

“I have now what I feel is a very strong middle management team,” Wilson said Friday.

Garay has more than 20 years of government experience, currently serving as audit manager with the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

He served as deputy inspector general for audits of the Federal Communications Commission and as assistant inspector general for the Defense Information Systems Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.

He also worked in the Inland Empire prior to his employment with the federal government in 2002. He was a financial professional for the San Bernardino County Auditor Comptroller and San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement System.

Agency Executive Director AJ Wilson said a nationwide search was conducted to fill the position.

“Mr. Garay has demonstrated both the highest levels of professional performance and a commitment to the highest levels of public accounting standards,” Wilson said. “His management experience will be vital as we move forward.”

Scandal struck the airport in September 2011 when dozens of FBI agents raided the airport, serving search warrants and seizing enough documents to fill a U-Haul truck. A warrant was also served at the home of airport developer Scot Spencer, who now stands accused of bilking the airport and taxpayers out of more than $1 million.

Spencer allegedly prepared a fraudulent charter jet lease agreement with the Democratic National Committee, then filed a $1.75 million claims with the Airport Authority claiming he had to cancel the lease after an airport official mistakenly leased hangar space intended for Spencer to someone else. The Airport Authority settled with Spencer for $1.02 million – 18 days after Spencer submitted his claim.

New Jersey resident and airport investor Felice Luciano, 69, also stands charged with working in cahoots with Spencer by helping prepare the forged charter jet lease agreement. He also stands accused of concealing the source of a campaign contribution.

Meanwhile, the airport continues to grow. An international arrivals terminal was recently completed, sans a jet bridge which will be completed in the next month, and an open house will soon be scheduled, Wilson said.

“It’s the first first-class international arrivals terminal here in the Inland Empire,” Wilson said. He said the only other choice for international travel in the Inland Empire is Aero Mexico at LA/Ontario International Airport, LAX or John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.

In addition, the airport had some of its best business in 2013, with 28,597 landings and takeoffs logged, a record number. It constitutes a 15 percent increase over the previous year, Wilson said.