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How to hide a corporate jet

A Dassault Falcon 2000 private plane, kind of like the one Jos A. Bank kept hidden.

In March 2014, Jos. A. Bank, the men’s apparel retailer known for its big sales and splashy advertisements, was bought by its competitor Men’s Wearhouse for $65 a share.

But it turns out Jos. A. Bank didn’t advertise all of its merchandise. Jos. A. Bank leases a Dassault Falcon 2000EX – a $24 million private plane that does not show up on any of the company’s financial statements.

"I thought 'If a company had a jet, it would show up somewhere,'" says Bethany McLean, Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair. "But as it turns out, it’s quite common that it doesn’t, and quite legal. Although, you could ask questions about whether this is following the letter of the law and violating the spirit of the law."

How does a company get away with leasing a private jet and not entering it on their records?

"This is possible because of a company’s so-called ‘perks’ or extra compensation," says McLean. "They only have to be disclosed when they’re personal use."

Jos. A. Bank says the jet is used 100 percent for business; therefore, it doesn’t have to be disclosed as executive’s compensation. The company is headquartered in Maryland, but the jet is hangered in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the former CEO Richard Wildrick lives.

If Wildrick uses the jet for his commute to and from Jos. A. Bank headquarters, then it’s considered personal use, right?

 "It would be," says McLean. "But the company very smartly set up a little office in Palm Beach, so therefore the office to office travel is business use and doesn’t have to be disclosed."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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