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VENICE, FL-The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has disclosed that Tristate Aviation Group LLC has made an offer to buy the distressed Venice Jet Center at Venice Municipal Airport. The jet center has quite a history, as it was where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained and, more recently, has been part of the scandal surrounding former hedge fund manager Art Nadel.

The article reports that Tristate Aviation Group’s offer must still be approved by a federal judge who is approving receivership on all assets formerly owned by Nadel, who had been charged with fraud earlier this year in conjunction with an alleged Ponzi scheme. If the deal goes through, Tristate Aviation Group will operate the center under the name Suncoast Air Center, The Herald-Tribune article notes. The center is located at 400 Airport Avenue E.

Ever since Nadel’s assets went into receivership following his March 2009 arrest in connection with allegedly bilking investors of up to $300 million from a hedge fund he operated, the center was targeted by the city of Venice as a possible asset to buy. Earlier reports by the Herald-Tribune noted that the city had been hoping to buy the airport to help relieve traffic congestion. However, much to the city’s chagrin, receiver Burton Wiand indicated last week that a new offer had come in, that would be presented to a federal judge.

Nor was the city the only disappointed party. Reports note that another prospective buyer, Sarasota businessman Earl Niemoth claims Wiand never negotiated with him after he placed a bid last summer for the asset. Niemoth’s efforts to involve U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzara to remove Wiand from overseeing the Jet Center sale failed.

The Nadel situation and its aftermath is not the first time this jet center and flight school between Tampa and Fort Myers has seen the media limelight. While operating under the name Huffman Aviation, the jet center attained notoriety for training some of the 9/11 hijackers. When Nadel purchased the center, he changed the name and gave the asset a facelift.

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