PALM SPRINGS – A large majority of the vintage World War II planes at the Palm Springs Air Museum could be grounded indefinitely.The Palm Springs Air Museum filed alawsuit against the owner of the planes, Jo Rose Pond, in the Riverside County Court.
The 32-page lawsuit includes several allegations lodged against the owner, the widow of former aviation enthusiast and the co-founder of the museum Robert Pond.In the complaint, the museum says ever since Robert’s death, Jo Rose Pondhasn’t allowed the museum access to spare parts, manuals, equipment, and log books.The museum board says under the loan agreement, they are supposed to have access and be in possession of these items.
In the lawsuit, the museum says she isn’t providing sufficient access to the items at the Ponds’ private hangar several hundred feet away from the museum.The museum pays $150,000 a year to maintain the borrowed 14 war planes worth over $16 million.
Since right before Robert Pond’s death in 2007, the 14 planes have been grounded.For months, the museum says they haven’t been able to maintain or work on the planes due to the lack of tools, logs, and plane manuals.
They say they are not able to maintain and fly the planes because of the disagreements with Pond.The museum is suing Pond and the Northern Trust Fund that manages Pond’s trust for access and possession of the spare parts, logs, tools and manuals, plus the estimated $1 million it will take to repair the depreciated warbirds.
In several of the letters from Pond to the museum included in the lawsuit, she says she’s been cooperative and will work to help the museum access the tools and whatever else is needed to keep the warbirds in flying condition.The museum is asking for a jury trial. A review hearing is scheduled for the end of January 2010.
The Palm Springs Air Museum owns six vintage planes which they continue to fly on a regular basis.