James McCool, previously a minority owner of California-based aviation services provider Desert Jet Holdings, has acquired sole ownership of its companies after reaching a legal settlement earlier this year with Denise Wilson, the founder and former co-owner. Wilson founded Desert Jet at Palm Springs-area Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport in 2007, initially as an aircraft management company and later adding private jet charter, maintenance, and FBO/ground handling services. Its 32,000-sq-ft permanent FBO complex opened last year.
McCool, a private pilot and retired financial executive, purchased a 49 percent stake in the companies in 2018 after being impressed with the service he received as a customer. Friction later developed between the two owners, resulting in dueling lawsuits that were eventually settled by mutual agreement.
Also cited in McCool’s legal action were the accounting and legal firms that represented Desert Jet at the time of his minority share purchase. The former reached a settlement with McCool in June, but on July 31 he and the Desert Jet companies filed an amended complaint in the Central District of California against the law firm, citing fraud and legal malpractice among other violations stemming from his initial purchase transaction. McCool declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.