Yucca Valley Airport Money Missing

Saturday, February 17, 2007
Missing Yucca Valley Airport Manager Suspected In Funds Theft
Authorities: Airport Manager Made Withdrawals Totaling $1.2M

YUCCA VALLEY, Calif. — The San Bernardino County district attorney’s office suspected a missing airport manager of the theft of $1.1 million in state money intended for runway repairs.

Editor’s Note: We report this because it is airport information. We also note that a story like this is an anomaly, and not a reflection on the hard working men and women who work as Airport Managers in our state. Bud Randles of the district attorney’s office said Richard Paul Demel, manager of the Yucca Valley Airport, deposited a $1.3 million check in a new bank account and made seven withdrawals, leaving only $200,000.

The airport’s board had applied for the grant money from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in 2003. When the check came the following year, Demel did not tell anyone, Randles said.

Airport officials did not learn about the money until the governor’s office called early this year for a status report on the runways, Randles said.

Demel, 51, has disappeared, authorities said. He has homes in Yucca Valley and Bermuda Dunes.

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