February 16, 2016
A Gulfstream at Zurich Airport - CC - Peter Gronemann

What information does Leonard Green & Partners provide about expenses of its private jet fleet?

FAA records of Leonard Green’s three private aircraft showed 1,898 trips over the past four years.

 

Private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners owns three private jets. FAA records of those aircraft show they have been used for 1,898 trips since 2012.

In 2015, Leonard Green’s jets made at least 423 flights. Over the past four years, travel includes flights to and from locations such as Aspen, CO (18 flights), The Bahamas (12 flights), Cabo San Lucas (14 flights), London (10 flights), as well as Turkey, Italy, France, Korea and Japan.

Nearly 300 flights were to or from locations where Leonard Green principals own residential properties in New York, Idaho and California.

A report by UNITE HERE is available here.

For example, in January 2012 aircraft tail number N850LG, made three trips back and forth between the Hamptons in New York and New Haven, CT, and in April 2013, N750LG made the same trip three times.

For Thanksgiving 2015, N850LG spent nine days in the Reno/Tahoe area, from Nov. 21 through Nov. 29.

For Valentine’s Day weekend 2015, N750LG flew to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

In March and April 2014, the jets took separate trips to Los Cabos, Mexico (twice), the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands, and St. Martin.

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspection and Examination, a number of elected officials, and organizations such as the Institutional Limited Partners Association have highlighted the need for greater transparency of fee and expense practices by private equity firms.

Investors may consider the following questions:

  • How does Leonard Green disclose whether private jet travel is:
    • Expensed to Green Equity Investors funds (and thus borne by limited partners)?
    • Expensed to portfolio companies (and thus ultimately borne by limited partners)?
    • Covered by limited partners?
    • Paid by the firm itself and/or Leonard Green staff?
  • How does Leonard Green handle expenses for its jets if they are utilized for personal use (e.g. vacation trips)?
  • Who ultimately pays the bill when Leonard Green utilizes its jets to market a new buyout fund such as Green Equity Investors VII?

FAA flight data on Leonard Green’s jets from 2012-2015