Oct 13 2006
Update:Folks, head to the comments section where long time reader SBD is working his usual magic and posting multiple real estate transactions with one Harry Reid regarding properties in NV and buyers/sellers from all over (including my home town of McLean VA). I wonder how many of these reports made it accurately into the public record? Someone at AT seems to have found some answers. – End Update
Majority Minority Leader Harry Reid needs to step down from his leadership position right now and undergo a full investigation of his activities. Once again it seems the media is mostly turning a blind eye to what is clearly a probable case of buying influence by kicking back profits to a Senator who pushed legislation and peddled his influence in ways that helped create the profits he recieved. The fact the connection between Reid and the land developer he assisted was covered up in an UNDOCUMENTED (and therefore theoretical) business deal is what makes this look like a story of covering up (instead of whatever lame excuse Reid and Brown are trotting out).
Again it was one of those rare days I was in the car and Rush was on that I learned the so-called business arrangement was ‘undocumented’. Hate to inform all those legal eagles in the Democrat party – but unless it is documented it is not a business or a business arrangement. Without a contract it is nothing.
Look at what Reid did to make his land purchase a windfall of nearly 3/4′s of a million dollars without any documentation (or taxes, speaking of giving tax breaks to the rich):
Nevada land deeds show Reid and his wife first bought the property in January 1998 in a proposed subdivision created partly with federal lands transferred by the Interior Department to private developers.
Reid’s two lots were never owned by the government, but the piece of land joining Reid’s property to the street corner _ a key to the shopping center deal _ came from the government in 1994. [AJStrata: making the property Reid bought valuable IF the land were to be developed, and basically useless otherwise]
Around the time of the 1998 sale, Lessman and his company were completing a complicated federal land transfer that also involved an Arizona-based developer named Del Webb Corp.
In the deal, Del Webb and Perma-Bilt purchased environmentally sensitive lands in the Lake Tahoe area, transferred them to the government and then got in exchange several pieces of valuable Las Vegas land.
Lessman was personally involved, writing a March 1997 letter to Interior lobbying for the deal. “This exchange has been through many trials and tribulations … we do not need to create any more stumbling blocks,” Lessman wrote.
For years, Reid also had been encouraging Interior to make land swaps on behalf of Del Webb, where one of his former aides worked.
What is clear is Reid only purchased the land after some initial hurdles were cleared – specifically the land swap where developers bought useless property (“environmentally sensitive” means no development, none) in one state and then traded it in for property someplace else where they could develop. It is only after this first hurdle is passed does Reid make is purchase. But even at this early stage Reid was trading political pressure for donations:
In 1994, Reid wrote a letter with other Nevada lawmakers on behalf of Del Webb, and then met personally with a top federal land official in Nevada. That official claimed in media reports he felt pressured by the senator. Reid denied any pressure.
The next year, Reid collected $18,000 in political donations from Del Webb’s political action committee and employees. Del Webb’s efforts to get federal land dragged on.
Is it far fetched to assume the initial coordination would lead to ideas on how to really cash-in? And not in political donations, but personal wealth!
Clark County intended for the property Reid owned to be used solely for new housing, records show. Just days before Reid sold the parcels to Brown’s company, Brown sought permission in May 2001 to rezone the properties so a shopping center could be built.
Career zoning officials objected, saying the request was “inconsistent” with Clark County’s master development plan. The town board in Spring Valley, where Reid’s property was located, also voted 4-1 to reject the rezoning.
Brown persisted. The Clark County zoning board followed by the Clark County Commission voted to overrule the recommendation and approve commercial zoning. Such votes were common at the time.
So somehow the land that was not available became available – and Reid purchased it. And somehow the land that was zoned residential (and therefore would gain marginal value over time) became rezoned right before Reid ‘sold’ the land to this shell company for what he paid for it! For NO PROFIT. Not even the normal inflation of money. This is right after the zoning came through that would drastically increase its value! One could have said how unfortunate that Reid sold right at the time the value would start shooting up. But he did not sell the land it seems, he simply transferred it in some verbal, mythical business deal. So when the land did sell to a developer, Reid – who clearly sold the land to this company – got a huge (and hidden) windfall.
Are we to believe Reid’s well timed moves and his clear ‘selling’ of his land with zero increase in price at a time the land’s value would begin skyrocketing to business entity without any mention of Reid’s involvement or ownership, and his willingness to cough up $400K worth of real estate without any written agreement of interest in said business, is all innocent?
Update: This news about Reid makes one wonder what kinds of real estate deals is he in on in this area of Nevada, given the fact he is working in opposition to his liberal base.
A large coalition of environmental groups is challenging legislation by Nevada’s two U.S. senators that would create almost 550,000 acres of wilderness in White Pine County but allow private development on other federal land.
The environmentalists say that surrendering 45,000 acres in that county to development in exchange for wilderness protection is a bad deal that a Congress controlled by Democrats would be less likely to approve. The groups want a delay to see whether Democrats succeed in taking control of the House or Senate in the Nov. 7 elections.
The White Pine County bill is one of four pieces of legislation the environmental groups oppose. The others involve similar land-use exchanges in Idaho and Utah.
“All of them have this quid pro quo strategy of giving away public land in one place for protection in another place,” said Janine Blaeloch, director of the Western Lands Project. “If wilderness is going to be protected, it should not happen at the cost of losing the rest of our public lands.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D.-Nev., and his Republican colleague, Sen. John Ensign, drafted the White Pine County bill. It would trade federal wilderness protections, which generally prohibit development and restrict most motorized recreation, on some lands for the privatization of other lands.
The bill is modeled after a 1998 bill, the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, which set aside land for wilderness and designated other land for sale for private development and other uses.
This deal has all the characteristics of the other one. I wonder if Reid has some verbal business agreements here as well?