Albuquerque aviation company mum on federal contracts related to immigration

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Image of youth at Casa Padre Shelter, Brownsville, TX, from HHS.gov website.

A New Mexico aviation company owned by a prominent Republican businessman has active contracts with the federal agency charged with housing migrant children once they cross the border.

Albuquerque-based CSI Aviation Inc., owned by Allen Weh, a former GOP candidate for New Mexico governor and U.S. Senate, has won multiple contracts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for transportation and relocation services that occurred in 2017 and 2018, a review of federal government databases shows.

In a June 23 news release HHS said when families are apprehended at the border they’re processed first by the U.S. Border Patrol, which then separates the children, placing them in the custody of the department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. The parents are sent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for processing.

There were 2,053 “separated minors” in HHS facilities on June 20, which is 17 percent of minors under the care of HHS, the agency said. The remaining 83 percent are minors who arrived to the U.S. on their own, without a parent or guardian.

It’s unclear whether HHS contracted CSI to fly immigrant children to and from the federal agency’s facilities. A publicly available database of HHS contracts with CSI simply codes the purpose as transportation, travel or relocation.   

The company on Monday refused to answer NMID questions about the nature of its HHS work, which could be contracting with the company for a range of services, directing it to HHS for a response. As of  2 p.m. Wednesday, the federal agency had not responded to NMID’s questions sent Tuesday afternoon.

CSI charters with private companies to transport deported immigrants. Image from www.ice.gov

Over the years, CSI has done work for ICE,  winning hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts with the office of Detention Compliance and Removal.

CSI’s work for ICE came up during discussions earlier this year over the city of Albuquerque’s role in helping CSI renovate and occupy the former Eclipse Aerospace hangar at the city’s airport, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The city was asked to administer $250,000 in Local Economic Development Act money to help the company with the renovation.

City Councilor Pat Davis of District 6 questioned if Albuquerque’s involvement would violate the city’s immigrant friendly resolution, which bans the use of city resources in immigration enforcement operations.

Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair at a city council meeting earlier this month said CSI doesn’t currently have a “federal immigration enforcement contract” and that the city had a written commitment from CSI that it wouldn’t violate the city’s ordinance.

The City Council approved CSI’s plans to renovate and take over the space.

In February, CSI appears to have lost a bid to keep providing ICE services to a New York contractor. The U.S. Government Accountability Office denied a CSI protest that month over ICE’s selection of Classic Air Charter Inc. (CAC), of Huntington, New York, to provide air services, including daily scheduled “large aircraft charter flights” (DSLA) out of Miami, Alexandria, Louisiana, Brownsville and San Antonio, Texas, and Mesa, Arizona, “as well as special high risk charter (SHRC) flights.”

The Government Accountability Office wrote that the contract — a single task order in its words — was intended to replace five separate task orders, one for each DSLA hub airport, currently held by CSI.

CSI had valued that contract at $850 million, the GAO report shows.

It is unclear how the loss of that contract will affect CSI; the company has yet to answer emailed questions from NMID. 

Prominent Republican donor and would-be politician owns CSI Aviation

CEO and Founder of CSI Aviation, USMC Colonel Allen E. Weh (Ret.). Image from Wikipedia.

CSI Aviation is prominent in New Mexico in part because of its owner. In addition to his unsuccessful bids for governor and the U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2014, respectively, Weh is a former state chairman of the Republican Party and has figured prominently in the state’s political scene. He and his family also give generously to Republican causes. And CSI Aviation employs a professional lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., to lobby on Federal Aviation Administration and excise tax issues.

A review of state and federal campaign records shows Weh and his wife Rebecca, plus their daughter Debbie, who like her father is a former chairman of New Mexico’s Republican Party, and her husband, Steve Maestas, have made significant contributions to Republican candidates and political committees this election cycle, at both the federal and state level.  

The family has given $156,200 to federal candidates and committees, including $100,000 to Trump Victory last October, an independent political committee. Of that, $10,800 was transferred to Donald Trump’s personal campaign committee. Allen Weh contributed $30,000 to the Republican National Committee, and the family supported Mick Rich for Senate, and Monty Newman in his failed primary bid for the congressional seat being vacated by Steve Pearce.

 

See Federal Level Weh family contributions
Federal Election Commission Campaign Reports         
Contributions from the Weh family
committee_namecontributor_namecontributor_street_1contributor_citycontributor_statecontributor_zipreceipt_dateamountfec_election_type_descpdf_url
ZIA POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (ZIA PAC)WEH, ALLEN E.6722 RIO GRANDE BLVD NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710763304/20/17 00:00$2,500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201707059066469684
ZIA POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (ZIA PAC)MAESTAS, STEVEN6801 JEFFERSON ST NEALBUQUERQUENM8710943904/20/17 00:00$2,500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201707059066469679
TRUMP VICTORYWEH, REBECCA R MS.6722 RIO GRANDE BLVD N.W.LOS RANCHOSNM8710710/18/17 00:00$50,000PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201801319091159684
TRUMP VICTORYWEH, ALLEN E. COLONEL6722 RIO GRANDE NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710710/18/17 00:00$50,000PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201801319091159684
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEWEH, ALLEN E. MR.6722 RIO GRANDE NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710763305/22/17 00:00$15,000PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201712269090333902
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEWEH, ALLEN E. COLONEL6722 RIO GRANDE NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710763304/19/18 00:00$15,000PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201805209112176476
REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE OF NEW MEXICOWEH, REBECCA MRS.6722 RIO GRANDE BOULEVARD NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710763309/27/17 00:00$1,500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201710189075791437
REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE OF NEW MEXICOWEH, ALLEN COLONEL6722 RIO GRANDE BOULEVARD NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710763305/22/18 00:00$5,000PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201806149113693354
REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE OF NEW MEXICOWEH, ALLEN COLONEL6722 RIO GRANDE BOULEVARD NWLOS RANCHOSNM87107633010/10/17 00:00$1,500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201712299090344740
REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE OF NEW MEXICOMAESTAS, STEVEN MR.7512 RIO GRANDE BOULEVARD NWLOS RANCHOSNM87107643410/26/17 00:00$5,000PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201712299090344744
REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE OF NEW MEXICOMAESTAS, DEBORAH MRS.7512 RIO GRANDE BOULEVARD NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710764349/22/17 00:00$1,500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201710189075791436
NEWMAN FOR CONGRESSWEH, ALLEN E. COL USMC (RET.6722 RIO GRANDE NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710763309/30/17 00:00$1,000PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201710139075633966
NEWMAN FOR CONGRESSWEH, ALLEN E COL USMCR (RET6722 RIO GRANDE NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710763303/31/18 00:00$1,700PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201804159108214221
NEWMAN FOR CONGRESSMAESTAS, STEVEN6801 JEFFERSON ST NE STE 200ALBUQUERQUENM87109439012/1/17 00:00$2,500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201801319091189180
MICK RICH FOR US SENATEWEH, ALLEN6722 RIO GRANDE NWLOS RANCHOSNM87107633012/29/17 00:00$500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201802010200059871
MICK RICH FOR US SENATEMAESTAS, DEBORAH7512 RIO GRANDE BLVD NWLOS RANCHOSNM8710764345/1/18 00:00$500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201805290200392731
MICK RICH FOR US SENATEMAESTAS, DEBORAH7512 RIO GRANDE BLVDLOS RANCHOSNM8710764341/1/18 00:00$500PRIMARYhttp://docquery.fec.gov/cgi-bin/fecimg/?201804190200312874
$156,200

 

The family and CSI Aviation altogether have given $49,200 at the state level, including $31,500 to Steve Pearce’s gubernatorial bid.

 

See State Level CSI and Weh family contributions
New Mexico Secretary of State Campaign Reports         
Contributions from CSI Aviation and the Weh family
First NameLast NameAmountDate ContributionContributorCompany NameAddressCityStateZip
StevePearce55009/27/17Allen E. Weh6722 Rio Grande Boulevard NWLos RanchosNM87107
StevePearce55009/27/17Rebecca Weh6722 Rio Grande Blvd NWLos RanchosNM87107
StevePearce50004/2/18Rebecca Weh6722 Rio Grande Blvd NWLos RanchosNM87107
StevePearce55009/27/17Steven Maestas6801 Jefferson St NE Ste 200AlbuquerqueNM87109
StevePearce45009/27/17Steven Maestas6801 Jefferson St NE Ste 200AlbuquerqueNM87109
StevePearce55009/27/17Csi Aviation3700 Rio Grande Blvd NW Ste 1AlbuquerqueNM87107
GeorgeMunoz25005/20/18Steven Maestas6801 Jefferso St NE Ste 200AlbuquerqueNM87109
KaylaMarshall2001/16/17Rebecca Weh6722 Rio Grande NWAlbuquerqueNM87107
KaylaMarshall2001/16/17Deborah Maestas7512 Rio Grande NWAlbuquerqueNM87107
MichaelHendricks20003/21/18ALLEN WEHCSI Aviation6722 RIO GRANDE NWALBUQUERQUENM87107
MichaelHendricks10003/21/18REBECCA WEH6722 RIO GRANDE BLVD NWLOS RANCHOSNM87107
MichaelHendricks10002/6/18Deborah MaestasSelf-Employed7512 Rio Grande Blvd NWAlbuquerqueNM87107
MichaelHendricks20003/21/18ALLEN WEHCSI Aviation6722 RIO GRANDE NWALBUQUERQUENM87107
NateGentry15008/10/17Deborah Maestas7512 Rio Grande Blvd. NWAlbuquerqueNM87107
MichelleGarcia Holmes5005/21/18Allen Weh6722 Rio Grande NWLos RanchosNM87107
BrianColon10005/20/18Steve Maestas6801 Jefferson St NE, Ste 300AlbuquerqueNM87109-4390
JosephBizzell50011/15/17Steven Maestas6801 JeffersonAlbuquerqueNM87109
Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico50005/8/17CSI Aviation, Inc.3700 Rio Grande Boulevard NW Suite 1AlbuquerqueNM87107
Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico2508/16/17Deborah Maestas7512 Rio Grande Boulevard NWLos RanchosNM87107
REALTORS ASSOC OF NM PAC506/20/17Steve Maestas6801 Jefferson St NE Ste 200AlbuquerqueNM87109
$49,200