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Chopper Fight On the Hudson

Heliport in revolt.


Skirmishes at the West 30th Street Heliport are turning into open warfare. Alvin Trenk has run it since 1980, but now several chopper companies that land there want him out. “He’s ripping us off, and he’s ripping off the State of New York,” asserts Michael Roth, whose New York Helicopter Charter is favored by Calvin Klein and Ian Schrager. In court papers, Roth claims that Trenk’s company overbilled him for more than $100,000 in phantom security services and other bogus costs. Liberty Helicopter, Freefall Express, and Helicopter Flight Services have made similar complaints. The agency that oversees the heliport, the Hudson River Park Trust, settled its own suit against Trenk in November, which alleged a “scheme and conspiracy” to avoid paying site fees. Copter owners’ latest gripe is a $10-per-head “passenger fee” Trenk imposed. “No one likes to have their fees increased,” says Trenk lawyer Leon Friedman. “They’re just thrashing around looking for some reasons not to pay their fees.”

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