Owner of private aircraft charter company accused of sex offenses

Published 12:06 pm Thursday, November 21, 2019

By Shavonne Walker


SALISBURY — The owner of a private charter aircraft company that leased space at Mid-Carolina Regional Airport until recently has been jailed in Georgia and accused of sex offenses against a child.

Steven Robert Setzer, the owner of Strategic Moves, which moved in 2015 to a facility county government built for the company, was charged with enticing a child for indecent purposes, sexual exploitation of children, aggravated child molestation, sodomy and statutory rape, according to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia.

Setzer, 57, was arrested May 20 by the Pooler Police Department and remains in the Chatham County Jail. Both are in the Savannah, Georgia, area.

Meanwhile, the company and Rowan County government have terminated Strategic Moves’ lease at the local airport. The company ceased operations at the end of October and will vacate its hangar lease agreement because of “financial difficulties and the loss of clients,” according to an agreement approved by county commissioners Monday.

According to the company’s website, the company ceased operations as of Oct. 31 and has referred clients to Davinci Jets. The company leased roughly 4,200 square feet of office space and a hangar at the airport. Before opening at the Rowan airport, Setzer set up his business at Statesville Regional Airport.

The business had been open since February 2002. It specializes in managing privately owned airplanes and provides pilots, concierge services, administrative record-keeping, and aircraft cleaning and detailing.

County Attorney Jay Dees said earlier this week both parties also agreed to terminate a “relocation grant agreement” in addition to ending the lease effective Nov. 30. The county entered into the relocation agreement on April 17, 2015, and entered into a corporate hangar lease effective Jan. 1, 2016.

A document finalizing the lease and relocation grant agreement termination was approved Monday as part of Rowan County commissioners’ consent agenda, which is used for items without opposition.

The county will have access to the hangar on Dec. 1, Dees said.

Rowan County Commissioner Greg Edds declined to discuss Setzer’s arrest but said the lease termination leaves the county with a great opportunity.

“We have a Class A, 15,000 square-foot hangar and Class A office space attached to it at a time when those things are a premium. This gives us a great opportunity to write the next chapter in Mid-Carolina Regional Airport,” Edds said.

Strategic Moves had locations in South Carolina; North Carolina; Virginia; Colorado; British Columbia, Canada; and Finland. The company also mentors pilots and provides transition training for pilots who want to learn to fly planes of different sizes.

Setzer called Rowan County the “right location for his company headquarters” in a 2015 news release.

According to WBTV’s David Whisenant, Setzer is a retired Marine Corps pilot who served on the crew of the presidential helicopter Marine One, supporting the White House and former President Bill Clinton.

As a Marine One maintenance officer and functional test pilot, Setzer was one of a select team authorized to certify the president’s helicopter as safe for flight after maintenance, according to the biography.

A statement provided to Strategic Moves employees after Setzer’s arrest and obtained by the Post said in part: “In the latter part of May 2019, Steve Setzer, the founder, president and owner of Strategic Moves, took an indefinite leave of absence from flight duties and day-to-day operations of the company to attend to an important personal matter.”

The statement said that while on a training trip, Setzer communicated with someone on an adult dating app and then met that person, who was not 18, contrary to information in an online profile.

The statement said that prosecutors allege Setzer engaged in relations with that individual.

“But while that process unfolds, the Strategic Moves family will continue to hope and pray for a just outcome for Steve,” the statement said.