An air charter operator claims he lost his aviation licenses because he’s the son of the imprisoned leader of the Montana Freemen, a claim inspectors say is unfounded. Craig Schweitzer is the son of Freemen leader Leroy Schweitzer, who led the group that held U.S. marshals at bay for 81 days in 1996. The younger Schweitzer said he has tried to follow the rules at his business in Kenai but that that his father may have been right to buck the system. “As much as people love America, and I feel for it too, I think our government has betrayed us,” Schweitzer said. “There are men who fought and died for the freedoms we’re supposed to have in this country.” An administrative law judge last week rejected Schweitzer’s appeal of his license revocation by the Federal Aviation Administration. Schweitzer said FAA inspectors have long sought reasons to shut him down because of his family ties. The Freemen rejected federal authority, set up a a common-law court and placed liens on public officials’ property. When authorities arrested the elder Schweitzer, his followers refused to leave their ranch compound. Ultimately they surrendered and Schweitzer was sentenced to 22 years on charges including conspiracy, bank fraud, false claims to the IRS and threats against public officials. Craig Schweitzer said he lost his aviation licenses on a technicality. He did not disclose on a medical certificate application that he had received a citation for refusing to take a breath test after he was pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving, he said, something he had disclosed previously. Spencer Hill, a now-retired FAA inspector built the case against Schweitzer, called the accusation of a vendetta “malarkey.” Hill investigated, he said, because of numerous rule violations. “Craig wants to operate according to his rules,” said Hill, who retired in March. The violations included an allegation that Schweitzer wrote an inflated weight limit on the maintenance record for one of his company planes, causing the pilot to overload it. FAA agents asked Alaska State Troopers to accompany them to Schweitzer’s home July 24 to serve him with an emergency revocation. Previously Schweitzer was fined $500 for assault when he allegedly threatened to get a gun and shoot a woman serving him with unrelated legal papers. Schweitzer on Friday characterized that incident as a warning that he would arrest her if she did not leave his property. The decision by the administrative law judge to uphold the license revocations means Schweitzer may not fly planes or operate a standard federal-regulation air charter. An exemption to charter regulations in Alaska law allows Mavrik Aire to continue flying hunters to camps or lodges if Schweitzer is not at the controls. Schweitzer said Mavrik Aire is busy ferrying hunters and bear viewers now, but will be crippled in winter, when it relies on the charter license. Flying is all he has known since he grew up learning from his father, a Montana crop duster, he said. “The government can come in and squash out the little guy the same government that my dad was fighting for 20 years,” Schweitzer said. Hill said Schweitzer ignored important safety rules that were developed and “written in blood” when other pilots died. “You start overloading an aircraft and then it becomes an unstable machine,” Hill said. “This has caused a lot of wrecks.” Schweitzer flew despite his lack of certification and failed to schedule flight checks or training for his pilots, Hill said. “I tried to work with Craig to keep him out of trouble, but every time I turned around there was another problem,” he said. Schweitzer also has problems with his neighbors at a North Kenai air park subdivision. Neighbors say he sued the homeowner’s association to try to control airplane access to a floatplane basin and restrict them as potential charter competitors. Schweitzer said Friday that his property came with an easement allowing his planes use of the area and he is trying to maintain that right. Neighbor Bill Woodin, who operates an air taxi service in King Salmon, said Schweitzer uses the specter of costly legal battles to control others or their properties. “What Craig Schweitzer has done is he tries to bully and intimidate people and rides his father’s coattails, and says, If you don’t follow my way of thinking I’m going to sue you.’” The air park case is scheduled for a trial in October.