How’s this for a few degrees of separation? Earlier this week a private jet clipped the famous Trump emblazoned Boeing 757 while it was parked at its usual home of La Guardia Airport in New York. Out of about 20,000 private jets worldwide, it turns out the apparent owner of the Global Express that crashed into the personal aircraft of President Donald J. Trump is someone he may be familiar with.
Jocelyn Wildenstein, who gained notoriety for her addiction to plastic surgery and filed for bankruptcy in May, apparently still owns a full-floor apartment valued at $11.75 million in the 91-story Trump World Tower, an eastside high rise the President opened in 2001 and passes whenever he visits the United Nations.
Her late husband Alec Wildenstein was the brother of Guy Wildenstein, who is listed as the sole member of Phaeton, LLC and president of Navair, LLC, the two entities that according to JetNet own the 1999 Global Express private jet that clipped the President’s 757 that became know as Trump Force One as the candidate was crisscrossing the country campaigning.
Guy Wildenstein and the President have some other commonalities. Both have found themselves on the wrong end of various legal issues involving art. Art dealer Wildenstein has been fighting tax fraud charges in France, while POTUS is facing scrutiny over using funds from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to buy a portrait of himself.
Both billionaires (although reports suggest Wildenstein’s fortune may have have been whittled away) can likely also attest that while private jets look nice and save time in addition to providing privacy and in the case of the President, a flying billboard, they aren’t very good investments. While Wildenstein’s Global Express cost around $60 million new, types similarly aged are selling for less the $10 million. Trump reportedly paid $100 million to buy his current aircraft from the late billionaire Paul Allen in 2010. Today his 757 is likely worth only a fraction of that, although its high-profile owner might make it more valuable.
In terms of Wildenstein’s jet, while it was being repositioned at the time of the accident, it is not clear who was scheduled to fly on it. The aircraft is certified for charter flights. It had returned to La Guardia from Santa Barbara on November 25th before being flown to Islip where it is apparently based. The previous trip had started at La Guardia on November 18 before heading to Paris and the next day flying from the French capital to Las Vegas where it was only on the ground for 90 minutes before flying to Santa Barbara. On Nov. 24 it flew to La Paz returning the same day with a stop in San Diego, likely to clear customers and immigration. It was only on the ground there for 24 minutes.
While the flight records of the President’s personal 757 are blocked, according to various plane spotters it is still in use. This year it has been photographed in Orlando, Las Vegas and Mumbai, India. In March, it was spotted at MacArthur Airport on Long Island.
According to the accident report, “The wing of a parked Boeing 757 was hit by a taxiing Bombardier Global Express. There were no injuries and the Global Express later departed to Hartford, Connecticut, which is home to a Bombardier service center, rather than its scheduled trans-Atlantic flight.” No word on damage to President Trump’s aircraft, however, needless to say, he doesn’t currently need it with three government aircraft at his disposal, including the two most famous which are based on the Boeing 747-200B and a third version based on the same type of 757 the President owns, sans gold plating in the bathrooms.