AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University has sold its former president’s airplane for $48,000 less than it spent to buy the four-seater in 2014.
The university said Tuesday that it sold the Cirrus that former President Steven Leath often piloted for official and personal business for $450,000.
ISU previously said it used donations to obtain the airplane for an “exceptional price” of $498,000 in 2014. Leath pledged to sell the aircraft last December after a Board of Regents audit questioned dozens of flights he took for training. He had already stopped piloting himself following revelations that he had damaged the plane’s wings in a hard landing in 2015 while returning from vacation.
Leath, who recently left to become the president of Auburn University, predicted then that the sale would turn a profit.
The buyer is a newly formed limited liability corporation created by Cedar Rapids businessman Dennis Munson, an Iowa State alum who is president of Linn Star Transfer. Munson, a pilot, said he will use the plane to fly to the logistics company’s warehouses throughout the Midwest. The company was already in the market for a Cirrus when he learned Iowa State’s was coming up for sale, he said.
Munson beat out five other bidders with a proposal that was $71,000 higher than the second highest bid. He said that he believes he received a fair price, adding that he doesn’t know Leath and has few ties to Iowa State these days.
Munson said he felt comfortable buying the plane after discussions with Classic Aviation of Pella, which had repaired the plane’s damage.
But he also wanted to avoid attention surrounding his acquisition of the notorious plane.
“I told Iowa State I hope nobody calls me,” he said. “But I was prepared for one.”
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