Monday, October 26, 2009

Grand Ave Project PENSION MONEY INVESTOR, McFarlane RESIGNS in CalPERS, Apollo (Magic Johnson) Money Group Scandal (BIGGEST ZD CALL EVER!)

Wow! I remember when I was reviewing the Master Plan for Eli Broad's CRA/City Council/Board of Stupidvisor NIGHTMARE project, Grand Ave Project for LA Weekly over two years ago when I noticed some guy McFarlane was pushing pension money into this bogus project that I felt wasn't going to happen (which it hasn't) -- and saw McFarlane's company was pushing pension money in other shady Downtown real estate projects.

I blogged about it originally in this giant article about the Grand Ave Project (not the LA Weekly article)...AND, we have all heard Zuma Dogg go ON and ON and ON about pension money in shady and risky investments.

From ZD's Grand Ave Project Blog (Originally posted June 9, 2009)

I'm sure you will be reading much more about the overall details of the project (specifics of what it includes, business plan, comments from experts and community leaders, and the whole enchilada. Because how could you not? It's the biggest, most interspicably intertwined project in City, State or US History. Because you have the CRA, City Council, County -- AND, a private developer, Related Co. (working with CALPERS, the pension money people who fund MacFarlane, who work with Related Cos.) ALL coming together for this one massive project, that has part of the details, sort of worked out...and they'll figure out the rest as they go along. (A $2 billion dollar starting point of a "wink and a handshake" to allow everyone to start spending and making the money!)

AND SATURDAY WAS THE MOST TRIUMPHANT DAY IN MY THREE AND HALF YEARS OF INVESTIGATIVE BAMBOOZLE-BUSTING. Because that little old hunch that seemed shady to Zuma Dogg, so I started blasting about it on my blog and at Council until they finally pulled it out of Grand Ave Project, finally hit REUTERS as the guy I tripped over (Victor McFarlane) in that HUGE Grand Ave Project memo off Eli's desk RESIGNED. (I almost scrolled right past it in the massive memo that Zuma Dogg wasn't supposed to even have. Whew!)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The real estate investment manager who led the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the nation's largest pension fund, into a money-losing land venture has resigned as an adviser to the fund, a spokeswoman for MacFarlane Partners said on Saturday.

Victor MacFarlane, chief executive of MacFarlane Partners, terminated his relationship with the $200 billion pension fund, spokeswoman Julie Chase said via email.

"I can confirm MacFarlane Partners, on its own initiative, resigned as manager of California Urban Investment Partners, LLC, for reasons agreed to and accepted by Calpers," Chase said.

California Urban Partners was set up in 1995 as an investment vehicle for Calpers, former basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson and MacFarlane to acquire and develop retail properties in urban markets in California, most with high concentrations of minority residents, a Calpers news release said.

MacFarlane Partners Inc is a real estate investment management firm in San Francisco that manages $10 billion in assets for some of the world's largest pension plans and institutions, according to its website.

The firm came under fire for a $970 million investment it managed for Calpers into LandSource Communities Development LLC, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

LandSource filed for bankruptcy in 2008, about 18 months after Calpers had bought into company, whose primary investment was a 15,000-acre (6100-hectare) tract of undeveloped land outside Los Angeles.

Calpers had invested in the development through its investment partner, MW Housing Partners, which was jointly managed by MacFarlane Housing and Weyerhaeuser Realty Investors, Calpers said in a 2008 press release said.

MW Housing held a 68 percent interest in LandSource, whose holdings were hit hard by the California real estate bust, it said.

The separation comes as Calpers examines its relationships with private equity firm Apollo Global Management and other outside money managers.

Calpers said earlier this month that its probe centers on around $50 million in payments that outside managers made over a five-year period to ARVCO Financial Ventures LLC, a firm headed by former Calpers board member Al Villalobos, to win the pension fund's business.

A Calpers representative could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

MORE FROM ZUMA DOGG'S ORIGINAL GRAND AVE PROJECT BLOG POST/DISCOVERY:

MacFarlane works with Related Co (the project developers) elsewhere in the city.
And if actually HAD any pension money to invest, I would put in a stipulation that none of it may be invested in this risky, speculative, un-necessary project, with only detail for one (of three phases) worked out, and no guarantee that the project has enough funding to even be completed. (And all kinds of loopholes that allow developers to "filp" the project to new operators, once any part (office, housing, retail) is completed -- AND allows developers to scale back on the number of affordable housing units required.

Why pension money is risky investment: The City is tied in to the success or failure of this project with the private developers (Related) for the term of the 99 year lease. If construction costs over-run, the City gets hit, if we can’t find someone to build the five star Mandarin Hotel (and there is concern that we may not find someone willing to build more luxury hotel accommodations in the area, the city takes a hit. (See Bonneventure) If retail revenues and occupancy rates do not generate to the levels promised, the city takes a hit (because what we gave was based on what we expected to take in).

What if the project never even gets completed?

From ZD's Grand Ave Project Blog (Originally posted June 9, 2009)

UPDATE: As of today, it still ain't happening...AT ALL!

AND HERE'S A ZD BLOG POST FROM SATURDAY THAT TIES INTO THIS IN A MAJOR WAY. I CAN'T BELIEVE I POSTED IT THE SAME DAY MCFARLANE RESIGNED!!! (I WENT ALL WEEKEND UNTIL JUST NOW, 5 AM MONDAY WITHOUT KNOWING!!! I COULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY ALL WEEKEND!

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