Trump's Boeing 757 Has Gold-Plated Seat Belt Buckles And Long, Deep Ties To Washington

May 10, 2016

When apparent Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump did a pre-primary campaign swing through the Northwest last weekend, he hopped between Eugene, Spokane and Bellingham aboard a Boeing 757 emblazoned with the word TRUMP in capital letters.

It turns out the 25-year old plane wasn’t just built in Washington by Boeing. Records show Trump owns a company in Washington state called TAG Air Inc. that operates a 757-200. While Trump has a fleet of aircraft he’s known to have only one 757, which has become known during his campaign as “Trump Force One.”

According to filings with the Washington Secretary of State’s office, Trump is the chairman of the board, director and president of TAG Air.

The list of governing people for the company also includes Trump’s longtime assistant Rhona Graff Riccio, Trump chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and Trump Florida Properties vice president Shawn McCabe.

Once Paul Allen’s, Now Donald Trump’s

Trump’s 757 has another Northwest connection. According to media reports, it once belonged to Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen who sold the luxury airliner to Trump about six years ago for a reported $100 million.

A video tour of the plane uploaded to Trump’s YouTube channel reveals his penchant for gold. The walls of Trump’s master bedroom are lined with gold silk. The sink in the master bath is 24-karat gold-plated, as are the seat belt buckles.

Records show TAG Air, Inc. was incorporated in California in 1994 and merged with a Washington company by the same name in 2005. At the time, both companies were owned by a Seattle-based company called Aviation Leasing, Inc. whose president and chairman is listed as Jo Allen Patton. Patton is Paul Allen’s sister who is better known as Jody Allen and was until 2014 CEO of her brother’s company Vulcan.

From 2005 to 2010, Patton was also listed as the president and chairman of TAG Air. In filings with the Secretary of State’s office, the company’s principal place of business was 505 Fifth Ave. S. in Seattle, home of Vulcan.

Vulcan did not respond to an email request for information about the history of TAG Air.

‘Own 757 plane’

In 2011, records show Trump took ownership of TAG Air and the principal place of business address was later listed as 725 Fifth Ave. in New York, the address for Trump Tower.

Over the years, it appears Trump used a Sharpie pen to personally sign the annual renewal forms for TAG Air that were submitted to the Washington Secretary of State.

In the renewal form filed with the Washington Secretary of State in 2013, the nature of TAG Air’s business is listed as “Own 757 plane.”

However, an earlier renewal form says TAG Air is the lessee of a Boeing 757-200. According to Federal Aviation Administration records, a 757-200 with the same registration number as Trump’s plane is actually registered to a Delaware-based company called DJT Operations I LLC.

Trump campaign pays TAG Air

According to Forbes.com, DJT Operations is a Trump company that owns the plane, but TAG Air operates it.

Federal Election Commission filings show that between June of last year and March of this year, the Trump campaign paid TAG Air, Inc. in West Palm Beach, Florida $3.7 million for air travel. The Florida Secretary of State’s office does not list an active company by that name.

The Trump Organization in New York did not immediately respond to a call and email requesting more information about TAG Air and its connection to Washington state. Nor did the Trump campaign.

Republican State Senator Doug Ericksen, a Trump supporter who helped organize the candidate’s visit to Lynden, Washington over the weekend, said he was unaware of Trump’s aviation business connection to Washington, but added, “That would truly be spreading the wealth around.”

Kim Schmanke, a spokeswoman for Washington’s Department of Revenue, said TAG Air has an active business license, but no “active tax reporting account.”

“It may just be that they’re not actively doing business in Washington state and paying taxes,” Schmanke said.