By Max Fontaine | Beacon aviation crime beat
In a life is stranger than, or at least very similar to, irony sort of way, the careers of two local public figures may need airlifted to a local hospital. Mayor-by-default Dolores C. Denominator and Bass Lake Authority Police (BLAP) Chief Gwen “Tug” McNabb have been indicted on conspiracy charges for their role in the purchase of the Bass Lake helicopter.
The indictment, which was handed down late Monday by the Michiana Bass Lake Regional Federal-ish Court, accuses the mayor and police chief of pocketing the money earmarked for the purchase of the helicopter and spending it on lavish shopping and gambling sprees at local casinos.
Both Denominator and McNabb have been placed on “environmental” leave until a more appropriate leave designation can be arranged. If convicted, the pair face several weeks of embarrassing trips to the grocery store. They have denied wrongdoing and claim through their lawyers that they were in fact “rightdoing.”
The scandal began back in April of 2014 when the town council approved the purchase of the helicopter, a Schweizer 269C-1., from a man in the Czech Republic for $240,000, American. The council agreed to the purchase almost without debate and largely on the enthusiastic advice of Denominator and McNabb.
The helicopter has been a fiasco from day one. Though purchased with the promise of “heightened lake security” and “surveillance of area criminals,” the helicopter was never officially deployed. The chopper was mostly seen going up and down at the airport, according to a person familiar with things going up and down at the airport. The aircraft was flown in public just twice, with both flights ending in, if not disaster, then unscheduled landings.
The helicopter was recently repossessed by Guy Soundguy, the soundguy for Local Cover Band, Bass Lake’s most enduring local cover band, at the request of the man from Prague who sold it to the town.
The charges will likely mean the end of the line for Denominator and McNabb and their professional careers. Denominator faces a tough re-election this November while McNabb will likely be forced to ride his bicycle to work until the weather gets really cold. In any event, the helicopter will not be around anymore.