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Local air-freight operator fined $1M for security violation

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OHL Solutions Inc. will pay a $1 million fine for shirking its duty to screen for explosives cargo bound for passenger planes at Indianapolis International Airport, U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett announced Wednesday morning.

New York-based OHL, formerly doing business as ActivAir Inc., agreed to the fine and other remedial steps after a lengthy investigation by the Transportation Security Administration, Hogsett’s office said in a prepared statement. The investigation covered activities prior to December 2010.

Hogsett said the case represents the largest fine ever assessed by TSA against a cargo entity for intentionally violating security requirements.

“When it comes to national security, there is no room for error, and we have no tolerance for shortcuts,” Hogsett said. “This record-setting fine, and the important corrective actions taken by the company, underscore our dedication to ensuring the safety of all those who travel through America’s airports.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office alleged that prior to December 2010, employees working for OHL in Indianapolis engaged in a systemic pattern of record-keeping violations. They failed to properly screen 100 percent of air cargo for explosives, as required by their security program, Hogsett alleged. Then, they continued to certify that air cargo, which was later shipped on passenger planes, had been screened, he alleged.

As a result of the TSA investigation, three Indianapolis residents: Andrew Barnes, 32, Brian Vanhandel, 31, and Mitchell Totty, 26, have each agreed to plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit federal reporting and recordkeeping violations.

Barnes, Vanhandel and Totty each face a maximum of five years in prison and $250,000 fine, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia J. Ridgeway, who is prosecuting the case for the government. An initial hearing will be scheduled before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the near future.

The violations are based on the federal recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, Hogsett said. This law requires that 100 percent of all cargo transported on passenger aircraft be screened for explosives.

“ActivAir has acknowledged the serious nature of the misconduct that occurred in its Indianapolis branch office, offered its complete cooperation in connection with the TSA investigation, and accepted full responsibility for the actions of its employees,” said Frank Eichler, vice president and general counsel for OHL, in a prepared statement.  “ActivAir’s management recognizes the importance of TSA security measures and has taken decisive action to prevent the recurrence of the compliance failures discovered at its Indianapolis branch office.”

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  • My sympathies to the company and its 3 employees
    What a laugh! Those three guys ought to "work" for TSA directly -- they'd be looking at neither fines nor jail b/c the TSA would defend them vociferously and assure us they "followed procedure" just as it does when its goons strip-search old ladies or steal from passengers.

    Companies collaborating w/ the TSA ought to take a long, hard look at what happened here and realize they could be the next ones TSA robs of a million bucks. And employees, ditto: do you really want to run the risk of jail and bankruptcy b/c your job subjects you to oversight from the thugs at the TSA?

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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