Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bubble? What Real Estate Bubble?

Either I should be in politics or they should be in real estate.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) made $822,000 last year from the sale of a controversial real estate investment with an Anchorage developer who had obtained a huge federal contract with his help the Los Angeles Times reports.

In 1997, Stevens invested $50,000 with developer Jonathan B. Rubini. Last year, at Stevens' request, Rubini and his partner bought back the senator's interests in their deals for $872,000, according to Senate financial disclosure forms made public.

About three years after he made that investment, Stevens helped Rubini secure a $450-million Air Force housing contract.

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham did almost as well. A defense contractor bought the Duke's San Diego area home in November 2003 and sold it nearly nine months later at a $700,000 loss, it was reported. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Mitchell Wade the owner of MZM, Inc., a defense contractor bought the Duke's house for $1,675,000 and "put it back on the market almost immediately for roughly the same price." After sitting unoccupied and unsold for days 261 it was sold for $975,000. A loss of $700,000. Dukie turned around and bought a new house for $2,550,000.

Don't worry about Wade though. He bounced back. Although Wade had been suffering through a flat period in winning Pentagon contracts, MZM, Inc. was on a tear – reeling in tens of millions of dollars in defense and intelligence-related contracts. At the time, the Republican congressman was supporting Wade and his firm MZM Inc. in efforts to win Pentagon contracts, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

And the cherry on top? The real estate agent who sold Dukie's house, Elizabeth Todd, contributed, along with her husband ,$11,500 to the Duke's various campaigns from 1997 to 2004. She also represented Dukie in his new home purchase. Mitchell Wade of course had no broker represent him in buying the Duke's house and had no home inspection.

The good news is the Duke has been vouched for in all of this. The bad news is that its Tom DeLay doing the vouching. “Duke Cunningham is a hero,” DeLay said during a press briefing Tuesday. “He is an honorable man of high integrity.”

Hey Tom, do you know many "honorable men" of low integrity? And by the way. Spider-man's a hero. Super-man's a hero. The guy who delivers my chinese food in a blizzard is a hero. The Duke, Sen. Stevens and you are ethically challenged greedy insiders gaming the system and holding press conferences to proclaim your "heroic" existence. I just can't see Marvel Comics producing a movie called "Insider Deal Man." Could be wrong though.


Blogger scott heiman said...

I see the Avalanche starting. First Schiavo matter, then Delay and all of his problems, then the judges, Social Security, Iraq, oil prices and now insider dealings coming out.

Keep the pressure on these guys and in 2006 we should see what we saw in 1994.

4:26 PM  

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