Campaign 2010

Feb 18, 2009

Shady Representative Calvert Land Deal Still in Court

Did Calvert and Co. get special treatment to ‘further curry political favor'?


With questions still swirling about Representative Ken Calvert's role in the purchase of public land, a $1.5 million lawsuit alleging the land sale may have been improper - or worse - continues to make its way through Riverside County Superior Court.


"Representative Calvert's shady land deal refuses to go away.  After all, Calvert and his partners got a sweetheart deal on a prime piece of property that avoided a competitive bidding process and was done to ‘further curry political favor, relations and influence,'" said Andy Stone, Western Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  "Congressman Calvert should spend less time focusing on his real estate holdings and more time addressing the needs of his constituents like he could have done by supporting the economic stimulus package which is projected to create 9,000-plus jobs in California's 44th District.  The fact that Calvert's ‘rare' economic chat today is a ‘private' fundraiser shows how out of touch he is."


Calvert says he was a silent partner in the $1.2 million deal to acquire a plot of land near new residential construction to build self-storage units.


But it appears the Jurupa Community Services District sold the property to Calvert and his partners without first offering it to other public agencies, as required by law.  That means Calvert and his partners were able to buy a plot of land, close to the freeway, in a booming real estate market - with no competitive bidding.


In fact, a Riverside County grand jury found that the community services district violated the law when it sold the land to Calvert and his partners.


And the lawsuit goes even a step further calling the land sale "actual fraud, corruption and actual malice" and alleges that the land was sold to Calvert - who had previously supported federal legislation benefiting the Jurupa Community Services District - and his partners as a way to "further curry political favor, relations and influence."


Of course, Ken Calvert has a long history of engaging in questionable land deals, even reportedly coming under investigation by the FBI because of allegations about Calvert-sought earmarks benefiting his property holdings.