My name is David L. St.Clair. I signed a firm purchase contract for R8F #4 and I ordered an airplane from Renaissance Aircraft LLC, on May 21, 2002. I paid a deposit of $15,000 on that date, and I delivered an additional deposit of $25,000 less than two months later, when I was told that my airplane was only a few weeks away from delivery. As of April 2008, (Yes SIX years later), I have received neither an airplane, nor a refund of my deposits, or any other form of security or payment from Renaissance, Mr. Dearden, or any of his affiliated companies. I have received promises (lots of them), I have been proffered excuses (lots of them), and I have been 'threatened' by Renaissance attorneys that a lawsuit might preclude my repayment, when I forcefully demanded refunds or compensation in 2005.
During my investigation of the Renaissance marketing plan and business pursuits, I have also learned of others with similar experience. Ultimately, I determined that the responsible thing for me to do, was to share my experience with others so that they could be spared the inconvenience and expense I have endured, and so that potential "MARKS" of the Renaissance Luscombe enterprise could be forewarned of the potential to lose their Investment/ Deposit/ Contribution if they trust these people to perform.
My story is not positive. I have formed the belief and opinion that Mr. John Dearden and his Renaissance Aircraft 'partners' are not honest, and that they are either incapable of, or unwilling to build airplanes that are safe and FAA certified, and that they are not in a position to deliver aircraft to customers who have contracted for them.
After demanding the return of my money in 2005, I was stalled by the Renaissance attorneys who promised an improvement in communication, and the satisfaction of the Renaissance debts to me. In its communications with me, all of those Renaissance failures to deliver were blamed upon a fellow name Mr. Combs, who was alleged to be responsible for everything related to the Renaissance mismanagement, to its failure to perform upon my contract , and for its failure to develop FAA production facilities.
I later made the acquaintance of Mr. Combs, and discovered that he had personally experienced Mr. Dearden's refusals and failure to perform upon contractual and financial obligations. Combs confirmed that Renaissance, Dearden, and their attorneys began to blame him for any and all of the Renaissance failures and shortcomings after Combs refused to agree to remain silent about the apparent fraud and misrepresentations they had undertaken. Mr. Combs has also introduced me to several other parties where they lost money, were threatened, or were stalled by the attorneys.
I began following the Renaissance Luscombe story when the company was formed and operating from Maryland in the late 1990's. I then saw Mr. Dearden and Renaissance move to south Georgia where the construction of new aircraft was supposed to commence in or about 2000 or 2001. I later learned that no application for FAA production approval was requested by Mr. Dearden or Renaissance in Georgia, and that the FAA was never engaged to approve aircraft production at that location.
I have also learned that FAA approved production facilities, and FAA approved production processes are required by the regulations for a company to build FAA certified airplanes like the proposed Renaissance 8F, for which Renaissance was collecting deposits. I have also been advised by an officer of the defunct Luscombe Foundation, that Renaissance was required to apply for, and to obtain by November 2001, an FAA approved Production Certificate (PC), pursuant to the terms of the licensing agreement for use of the Luscombe aircraft type Certificate #694. (I have been unable to confirm with the FAA that Dearden, Renaissance Luscombe, or any of its subsidiaries, have ever had an FAA approved Production Certificate that might demonstrate a legal right to produce FAA certified aircraft for commercial sale.)
I continued to follow the Luscombe production efforts of Mr. Dearden and Renaissance when they suddenly moved from Georgia to Missouri in 2001. This move was apparently prompted by a large financial incentives package in Cape Girardeau Missouri that offered a new building, and several million dollars of cash and non-cash benefits to the airplane company if it produced Luscombes there. Ultimately the state of Missouri and Cape Girardeau built a factory building, and contributed more than $700,000.00 to the Renaissance Luscombe production effort for employee training, tax incentives, and for plant and equipment procurements. they anticipated
Mr. Dearden and several Renaissance officers and employees of the company testified at a 2001 arbitration, that, 'the production of 10 aircraft had commenced' in the Missouri factory. It was later learned that Renaissance had never applied for FAA production authorities, and that its 'production' consisted only of several small fittings that were mis-represented as 'aircraft production'. During late 2001 and early 2002, Renaissance Luscombe did build three experimental airplanes from a few new parts, and from dozens of old parts collected from various sources. These 'NEW' airplanes were represented to financiers and to prospective customers (including David St.Clair), as new production, FAA certified airplanes. I recently learned that these aircraft were not new, and that in some ways, their safety and FAA standards had been compromised during construction..
On May 10, 2002, one of the Renaissance Luscombe employees (Fred Acevedo), stepped forward to recant his testimony in a 2001 arbitration because it was false and misleading. Mr. Acevedo also impugned the testimony of Mr. Dearden, Mr. Jeschke, and Mr. Straka in that same arbitration. Mr. Fred Acevedo, the Renaissance Luscombe production manager, its quality assurance person, and a certified Aerospace engineer, offered his corrected testimony that no airplanes could be legally built by Renaissance. He further advised that the Luscombe aircraft which were represented as new production, were not new, and that there were used parts, and compromised parts used in their construction at the Missouri factory. It was also Mr. Acevedo's testimony that the alleged profits upon which Renaissance based its claims against the Luscombe Foundation and its board, were false, inflated, and improperly derrived to bankrupt that entity and to obtain its assets.
Mr. Doug Combs of the Luscombe Foundation has been singled out by Renaissance' attorneys at two arbitrations because he was critical of Renaissance and suspicious of the Renaissance production methods and motivations. Mr. Combs had alleged that Renaissance Luscombe was refusing to follow the production license guidelines designed to require FAA Aircraft certification and to guarantee safe airplanes would be delivered to customers. Mr. Acevedo confirmed that as quality assurance manager in the Missouri factory of Renaissance Aircraft, he had witnessed not only ERRORS in aircraft process and construction, he had observed intentional orders and directives by Mr. Dearden which compromised construction and flight safety. Mr. Acevedo's opinion was that Mr. Combs' fears were not only justified, but that production problems and aircraft safety issues in the Luscombe factory were actually far worse than Mr. Combs had suspected and alleged.
Mr. Acevedo's testimony on May 10, 2001, unequivocally established that John Dearden and Renaissance Luscombe were NOT capable of producing airplanes, and that the proper permissions had not been obtained from the FAA for aircraft production, FAA aircraft Certification, and for aircraft sales to the public.
Despite this lack of FAA certification and the superior knowledge available to Mr. John Dearden as the President of Renaissance Aircraft, he continued to promote, market, and sell Luscombe aircraft products for which he could not obtain FAA certification, and which he could not legally deliver to customers. On May 21, 2002, Mr. Dearden met with, and then executed a sales/purchase contract with David Saint Clair. Renaissance and Dearden then solicited and accepted from David Saint Clair, a deposit of $15,000, for the purchase of Renaissance Luscombe 8F, production unit #004, to be delivered in 'several months'. That purchase contract specified and warranted that the "NEW" aircraft would be free from defect in materials and workmanship.
One month later, in late June, 2002, Renaissance Luscombe and John Dearden advised David Saint Clair that his new Luscombe was nearly complete, and that an additional deposit of $25,000.00 was required to procure the Lycoming engine for installation on the airframe. David Saint Clair traveled to the Luscombe factory in Cape Girardeau on July 2, 2002, where he observed a Luscombe airframe under construction. He then executed a check for $25,000.00 to Renaissance Aircraft for his Luscombe #4 aircraft.
In August 2002, John Dearden met with the FAA to discuss the certification of airplanes constructed by Renaissance in its Cape Girardeau factory. A long meeting ensued where Renaissance and Mr. Dearden were advised that they would have some difficulty obtaining certification for the aircraft already constructed. The meeting resulted in a heated exchange by John Dearden, and animosity directed at several FAA officials. This exchange resulted in a four page letter outlining the FAA production requirements that letter was constructed by the FAA staff, and delivered to Renaissance Aircraft on August 9, 2002. The content of that FAA letter confirmed that Renaissance Aircraft had not applied for any FAA production authority, that it had no production certificate, and that it was not in a position to construct or sell FAA certified aircraft to prospective purchasers such as David Saint Clair.
Renaissance and Mr. Dearden cashed David Saint Clair's checks totaling $40,000.00 in 2002. No aircraft was ever delivered to David Saint Clair in 2002 by Renaissance or any of its affiliates. No aircraft was delivered to David Saint Clair in 2003, or 2004, by Renaissance Aircraft, or Luscombe-Silvaire Aircraft, or by Team Luscombe. It is quite apparent that If Renaissance and earden had made no application to the FAA for Aircraft production approvals until AUGUST 2002, the company was in no position to construct and deliver an airplane in May or June of that year when Mr. Dearden requested deposits, and cashed checks while making such promises. Such misrepresentations were clearly fraudulent in nature, and were NOT inconsequential 'misstatements', but rather inducements engineered to obtain money from Mr. StaintClair.
In late 2004, Renaissance was evicted from its factory building in Cape Girardeau Missouri. Renaissance and Mr. Dearden have consistently blamed Renaissances' inability to produce aircraft upon Mr. Doug Combs, or upon the Luscombe Foundation with whom Renaissance had a licensing dispute. I later learned that Mr. Combs left the Luscombe Foundation in March 2003, and has had nothing to do with that organization, or the administration of the license agreement with Renaissance since that time (more than 5 years ago).
Having invested more than $40,000.00, and having received no new aircraft, and no refund of my deposits throughout 2002, 2003, and 2004, I began pressing for a full refund of my money in late 2004. Mr. Dearden and Renaissance Aircraft Offered continual excuses, and finally refused to return my calls. At that juncture I was threatening to sue Renaissance Aircraft for a refund. I was then referred to Renaissance attorney Eric Rowe at Greenberg Traurig LLP in Washington D.C. for a teleconference. Mr. Rowe promised to see that I obtained a refund or an airplane, and argued that a lawsuit with Renaissance aircraft would be counter-productive because it would prevent the company from obtaining financing necessary to either repay me, or to deliver an airplane. After promising me a resolution of the issues outstanding, and improved communication with Renaissance Aircraft, I have never heard from Mr. Rowe again about the delivery of money or an airplane.
Mr. Rowe did provide me a letter in which he mis-identified me, and where he profusely denigrated Mr. Combs, by characterizing him in an unkind manner that suggested that he (Combs) must be the devil incarnate. I recently had the pleasure to meet with Mr. Combs and found that he did not have three heads or horns, and that he seemed to have a genuine interest in preserving and improving the Luscombe airplane fleet. Mr. Combs politely directed me to several other parties with similar complaints about their business dealings with Renaissance Aircraft, and its subsidiary companies Luscombe-Silvaire Aircraft, and Team Luscombe. I now know of several other customers who did not obtain what they purchased from the Renaissance group of companies, and I am aware of employees and vendors that are allegedly unpaid by Renaissance Aircraft or Mr. Dearden. It is my opinion that I have detected a theme and consistent method in the way the Renaissance companies do business.
Please contact me and provide any details, stories, documents or other material that you believe might be of interest to me or to others contemplating business with Mr. Dearden, or his companies. You can only help the aviation community by sharing your experience with Renaissance Aircraft, Luscombe Silvaire Aircraft, and Team Luscombe, be that positive or negative.