Monday, July 28, 2008

SEDC board member Chip Owen bilked taxpayers

Owen got $500,000 before joining board
By Jeff McDonald and Helen Gao
San Diego Union Tribune
July 22, 2008

"Three years before he joined the board of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., Artie “Chip” Owen and a company he managed bought 4.4 acres that they instantly sold to the government agency for a $500,000 profit, records show.

"Caravan Properties LLC bought the property on Market Street near 54th Street in San Diego from Federated Industries Inc. of Chicago for $1.8 million on May 1, 2000.
The transaction was time-stamped 10:59 a.m., the same minute Caravan filed a quitclaim deed transferring ownership to the company and Owen. The subsequent sale from Caravan and Owen to SEDC for $2.3 million also was time-stamped 10:59 a.m.

The transaction was first reported by San Diego blogger and real estate broker Pat Flannery.

Records obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune show SEDC entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Caravan Properties in April 2000 – before Caravan bought the land from Federated Industries.

Critics questioned the sale. Owen “knew the land and bought it,” said Kathleen MacLeod, who volunteers for a number of community groups. “Why didn't SEDC buy it for $500,000 less?”

Owen... was appointed to the board in February 2003 by then-Mayor Dick Murphy. He currently is the chairman.

The Market Street deal was not his first with the SEDC...

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