Founder facing federal charges for role in failed airline at Newport News-Williamsburg Airport pleads not guilty

Posted at 5:13 PM, May 21, 2019

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The founder of People Express Airlines Michael Morisi pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday.

Morisi faces 18 federal charges related to his role in the failure of the airline at Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport.

Morisi is charged with wire fraud, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, lying about taxes, and failing to file a tax return.

Morisi founded the airline in 2011, but the airline faced a series of issues getting off the ground. Eventually the airline was evicted from the airport and went out of business.

Morisi is the second person tied to the airport to face federal charges. Ken Spirito, the former executive director of the airport, was indicted on Monday.

Both Morisi and Spirito continue to remain out of jail on bond and didn’t talk to reporters Monday. They will go on trial in November.

Morisi made an initial court appearance on Tuesday and was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond.