UPDATED: Ecojets CEO Edgar Costa denies fraud accusations in hotel bankruptcy

The jet card program had launched a “cash back” jet card in 2017

(Updated Aug. 17, 2018 – 5:55 pm – After we published this story, Edgar Costa reached out and told Private Jet Card Comparisons, “The bankruptcy is a fraudulent attempt by Don and Kerry Wellington to try to buy back the hotel for a fraction of the value. Regarding the hotel, at the time of my acquisition, I requested a forensic audit of the project. The only time I have managed the hotel was March to June 2018. Kerry Wellington, Don Wellington, Howard Dean and John Krupa have received from banks and project investors $45 million and the hotel budget was $20 million. The question is really about their misappropriation of funds and bad management.” Costa also forwarded us a report published yesterday of a lawsuit filed against the Wellingtons and a third party on Aug. 8 for “failing or refusing” to honor their obligations under a loan agreement for a separate project. The article noted no criminal charges have been brought against Costa in the TIME Nyack bankruptcy.)

Edgar Costa, the CEO of jet card charter broker Ecojets is “fighting back” after being accused of fraud in a hotel bankruptcy, according to three newspaper reports. The story has apparently been unfolding since July 16th when the TIME Nyack Hotel filed for Chapter 11 protection. In the news report from a local newspaper in the Lower Hudson Valley, it said, “Investors said the first move was to regain control by filing for Chapter 11 to get rid of manager Edgar Costa, whom they described as a conman who allegedly stole at least $1 million from the business.” 

 

John Krupa, an investor, said in the article, “The game plan was to get rid of the conman who had the keys to the castle…We filed for bankruptcy to save the business and to get this guy out and stop the bleeding.” A follow-up story on July 19th started, “Edgar Costa enticed owners of the TIME Nyack hotel with tales of being a billionaire and promises of millions of dollars to put the finishing touches on the elite boutique hotel and restaurant. Costa’s promises turned out to be a con job after he charmed major owners into giving him control of the multimillion-dollar hotel and restaurant, two investors said this week after they obtained bankruptcy protection for the business.”

 

A third story published on Aug. 13 included a prepared statement from Costa. It read, “When Don and Kerry Wellington asked me to take over ownership and management of the Time Nyack Hotel and the Metropolitan Bronxville projects, they did so in an effort to bail themselves out of serious financial debt and operating deficits on both projects. I agreed at the time to personally guarantee tens of millions of dollars of debt on both projects with the intention of renegotiating, and the various creditors approved my ability to do so. Over the last several weeks, I have been the target of a smear campaign perpetrated by former business associates.”

 

Costa, according to the reports, gained 90% ownership of the hotel last year by promising financing. He said in a statement after taking over, he found mismanagement by his now accusers. So far no criminal charges have been filed against Costa, however, a trustee is now controlling the hotel.

Ecojets jet card CEO accused of fraud

The Ecojets website is still live and there have been Instagram posts from its account as recently as August 1 with a post on its company Instagram page at the same time. In 2017, Costa launched a fixed-rate, guaranteed availability private jet program that gave members discounts of up to 30% for booking in advance, roundtrip travel and flying on older jets. However, the discounts came in the form of a Mastercard or Visa debit card effectively providing the user cash on account that they could use at any establishments that accepted either of the payment solutions. Programs started with a $20,000 deposit and ECOJETS cards were being sold via Amazon in variations up to $100,000. There were also plans, according to Costa, to provide an in-house concierge program with a company that he was planning to acquire. Ecojets claims to have an escrow account.

 

Wearing different Richard Mille watches the two times I met him – the timepieces typically cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars – Costa presented himself as an ultra high net worth entrepreneur who had bought and sold companies in the construction business in Portugal and South America. At the time, his website site was populated with a wide variety of content that was seemingly updated on a daily basis and impressive for a launch. My last interaction with him was via email in early March when he invited me to meet a Minister from the Congo at his hotel in Nyack. His accusers say he ran up over $40,000 in dining bills entertaining at the hotel.

 

As I was about to post this, Costa responded to my email, but then did not make himself available for questions. Updates to follow as we learn more.

About the Author Doug Gollan

I am Founder and Editor of Private Jet Card Comparisons, the only independent buyer's guide to jet card membership programs, and DG Amazing Experiences, a weekly luxury travel e-newsletter for private jet owners. I am also a contributor to Forbes.com
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