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Cablevision founder Charles Dolan's frequent flier plan [Upated]

July 14, 2010 |  3:38 pm


One of the perks of being a big shot is having a private jet. And apparently one of the perks of being a big shot at a family-run company is leasing your private jet back to your own company for $600,000 a year.

That's how Cablevision Systems Corp. founder Charles Dolan rolls. In a Securities & Exchange filing, the New York-based cable company, which has more than 3 million subscribers and also owns cable networks AMC, WE and IFC, has renewed a deal with Dolan to lease his Gulfstream GIV-SP to Cablevision, which is now run primarily by his son Jim Dolan.

CDOLAN The actual agreement between Charles Dolan and Cablevision is quite complex. According to the SEC filing, the jet is technically leased by Sterling Aviation LLC, which is owned by Charles Dolan. Sterling then subleases the jet to Dolan Family Office LLC and Charles Dolan, and those entities lease the Gulfstream to CSC Transport, a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corp.

For those days when a Gulfstream is just too much plane, the Dolans also lease themselves a Cessna 501. That agreement is just as complicated as the one for the Gulfstream. Per the SEC filing, CSC Transport rents the Cessna from New York Aircam Corp., which is owned by Charles Dolan and his son Patrick, who is also a Cablevision executive. The price for that is $1,000 a month.

A Cablevision spokeswoman said the company's "use of aircraft is absolutely appropriate and, at times, essential given our media, entertainment, programming, and corporate activities and interests throughout the United States and abroad." 

No doubt Cablevision executives have to fly all over the place for business. Perhaps Dolan's next move will be to set up a car rental service for the company too.

-- Joe Flint

For the record: Cablevision, which is majority controlled by the Dolan family, says it does not lease the plane for $600,000 a year but rather a Charles Dolan entity pays Cablevision that annual amount to manage the plane for them. Cablevision pays a timeshare rate on the plane. In regards to the Cessna, Charles and Patrick Dolan pay Cablevision $1,000 a month to "manage" the plane.

Photos: Top: Gulfstream IV. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times. Right: Charles Dolan. Credit: Peter Foley / Bloomberg.