With the new baby on the way, I think I need to find a bigger place. But first, I have to unload the one I have. Anyone can tell you it's a buyers' market; anyone who reads, anyway. Now, if only there was a way for me to sell this house for more than I actually paid for it in this market.
Hmm, I suppose I can "sell" it to myself for more than I paid for it, and that way the next sucker who buys it will think he/she's getting a discount when I knock the price down. Brilliant, but legal? I don't know. Maybe I should ask the Wiz Kids at West Covina City Hall.
For those of you just tuning in, this is the latest to fall through the cracks, and boy what a doozy. Once again, the city is entering into an agreement with Pacific Development/TELACU Industries to build more senior housing. The city will dole out $8.6 million to build the 65-unit affordable senior housing complex with its partnership with Pacific/TELACU. Now, if that name is familiar, it should be. They built a similar development right next to the property in question, and it was developed by Thomas Corley and Hank Attina.
Now, if the name Hank Attina rings a bell, that should, too. He is bestest friends foreverest with West Covina City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman. They're such good friends, Good Ol' Arnie represented his good buddy in court when he got popped for a DUI.
But that's not even the meatiest part of this bone. Turns out Bill McIntyre (the same one who employs Mike Touhey as a consultant. What a happy coincidence) sold the property to an LLC called Home LLC for $3.67 million in May 2007. Then, Home LLC turned around and sold it to JV Home for $4.4 million in July 2008.
I know what you're wondering. You're wondering how, just how, can the price jump that much when the rest of the market was in the shitter? Easy: Home LLC and JV Home is RUN OUT OF THE SAME ADDRESS! I shit you not. How can that even be legal?
And how can it be legal for the City Council to commit so much money to a property without appraising it first? Man, there should be a law against that.
Wait... there is: It's called California Government Code 7267.1.
In it, it states: "(a) The public entity shall make every reasonable effort to
acquire expeditiously real property by negotiation.
(b) Real property shall be appraised before the initiation of
negotiations, and the owner, or the owner's designated
representative, shall be given an opportunity to accompany the
appraiser during his or her inspection of the property. However, the
public entity may prescribe a procedure to waive the appraisal in
cases involving the acquisition by sale or donation of property with
a low fair market value.
Low fair market value, eh? Does $3.6 million on a piece of empty 1.08 acre-land sound like low market value? Well, I seem to remember back in 2006, the city sold BKK land to Mike Touhey-client developer Charles Co. for $1.8 million. It was 2.8 net acres, and back then, the Staff urged the council that we were getting paid top dollar for that property.
But you know, that was two years ago. Things have certainly changed since then, right? So let's see what we got goin' on now.
According to the official site of the National Association of Realtors, I can buy 2.2 acres of land, in West Covina, for a mere $1.1 million. Does anyone remember how many acres that Workman land has? That's right, kids, 1.08 acres. And just for shits and giggles, let's see how much $3.5 million could buy me in the San Gabriel Valley.
What, what's this? I could buy about 2.5 acres in nearby Industry. That's about twice what the size of the Workman lot.
Look, I'm a guy who knows how to navigate Google. That's it. The City Staff is loaded with experts, attorneys, economists, etc. and they STILL couldn't see the city was getting bent over? Maybe if Chris Chung spent more time actually doing his job and less time calling people racists, he would have picked up on this. This thing passed 5-0! It was on the consent calendar, for crying out loud.
Then, on Thursday, seeing the error of his ways, Mayor Hernandez called a meeting, hoping to overturn the decision. But alas, he was the only one at the party. None of the other four showed up. Well, I'm sure their excuses are good, but the fact that those excuses are worth about $9 million in taxpayer money is hard for me to believe at this point.
I'll make a public plea that someone who has more than a laptop and a lot of spite take this under consideration. Where's the Public Integrity in this? Now, if only there was, oh, I don't know, some sort of legal body who actually monitors these types of things...