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Financially embattled Harbor Air owner may sell

"A Harbor Air spokesman says the company officials are seeking outside capital infusions to help bail them out of their financial predicament.In fact, Marketing Director Rick Jones admitted that the investment from outsiders could mean a change in the company's ownership. In other words, owner Rick Boehlke of Gig Harbor might sell the more than 30-year-old company he has owned for four years.We will continue to serve the island and provide service as seamless as possible, whatever the organizational structure, Jones said. He added that three outside investors have expressed interest.At the same time, Jones said the company is trying to get back into Sea-Tac. The Port of Seattle kicked Harbor Air out of the international airport last month after the company failed to make gate lease payments. Harbor Air owes $100,000 to the port.We're negotiating with them, Jones said, adding that he expects to start flying into Sea-Tac again by the end of May. If it doesn't happen, Harbor Air risks losing its valuable code-sharing agreement with Alaska Airline.For now, Harbor Air is flying customers from Oak Harbor, the San Juans and Gig Harbor to the Boeing Field terminal and shuttling them to SeaTac Airport by van.Jones said company officials are also working out a deal with King County to get their plane back. County revenue officers seized the plane after it landed at Boeing Field because the company owes over $70,000 in year 2000 personal property taxes to King, Island, Whatcom and San Juan counties.Jones said recent reports that the Internal Revenue Service has filed about $900,000 in liens against the company have been exaggerated.The figures weren't a true representation of the situation, he said, but declined to explain how much the company owes the IRS.In addition, Jones said the rumors are untrue that the Oak Harbor Airfield, which Harbor Air owns in part, was foreclosed on and is being auctioned off. The only thing that has happened, he claims, is that the company's mortgage on the property was transferred from one bank to another.I am very optimistic about the future, he said.You can reach staff reporter Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611. "

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