Rent-A-Center may be in the business of leasing furniture and other items, but when it came to deciding how to budget for a company jet, the executives chose to buy.
That jet, a Cessna 680, has become a focus of an activist investor who claims company brass are wasting precious corporate assets on the perk — and should have refrained from buying it.
“Frankly, I believe it is unwarranted for a company of Rent-A-Center’s size (market cap $645 million) to own a jet aircraft, and I am sure the rest of the shareholder base would agree,” Glenn Welling of Engaged Capital wrote in a letter to the Rent-A-Center board’s audit committee.
The company’s new chairman, Steven Pepper, used the jet to fly from his home in Mexico City to meet Welling in Newport Beach, Calif., on Aug. 8 — at an estimated cost of $50,000, instead of a $3,000 business-class ticket, the activist wrote in the letter.
Pepper’s use of the jet could come up at Thursday’s board meeting.
Roughly half of the flights taken by the Plano, Texas, company’s top brass over the past 15 months appear to have been for personal use, a source, citing FAA records, told The Post.
The $18 million jet traveled to the Bahamas for a long weekend in March, the source said, referring to data provided by flight-tracking site ADSBexchange.com.
During that same weekend, the daughter of chief executive Mark Speese posted a photo on Instagram — using the hashtag #DrunkOnAPlane — of her clinking glasses with a friend while her dad photobombed the two.
“The corporate plane was used to participate in a business function in the Bahamas,” a source close to Rent-A-Center told The Post, declining to offer more details.
Of the 83 flights tracked by ADSBexchange since June 20, 2016, 41 occurred during weekends — often to Grand Rapids, Mich., and Vail, Colo., near where Speese is said to have vacation homes.
“Rent-A-Center does not control or manage the destination of the aircraft when it is out on charter by third parties and not in use by the company,” a company spokesperson told The Post.