Amazing how much scrutiny is done on a land deal by a Republican politician, but nary a word when it’s done by the Senate majority leader who happens to be a Democrat. Here is The Blotter on Alaska Senator Murkowski:
Eyebrows are going up over a land deal between an Alaskan developer and a U.S. senator.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, says her deal with longtime friend and political supporter Robert Penney is entirely above board. Late last year, Murkowski paid Penney, a real estate developer, $179,000 for a 1.74-acre tract, although local real estate agents say it was worth as much as nearly double that figure.
Moreover, ethics law experts say the senator appears to have misreported the deal in her financial disclosures. Murkowski’s spokesman, Kevin Sweeney, said Monday the Senate Ethics Committee had confirmed to the senator’s office the filings were accurate and in order.
The problem? She paid the assessed value instead of the fair market value so everyone thinks it was a bribe of some kind. It may very well be and should be investigated. But I find it curious that when Harry Reid was involved in a much more scandalous deal all we heard was crickets:
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn’t personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.
In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.
The Nevada Democrat’s deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. He’s never been charged with wrongdoing—except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.
Land deeds obtained by The Associated Press during a review of Reid’s business dealings show:
_The deal began in 1998 when Reid bought undeveloped residential property on Las Vegas’ booming outskirts for about $400,000. Reid bought one lot outright, and a second parcel jointly with Brown. One of the sellers was a developer who was benefiting from a government land swap that Reid supported. The seller never talked to Reid.
_In 2001, Reid sold the land for the same price to a limited liability corporation created by Brown. The senator didn’t disclose the sale on his annual public ethics report or tell Congress he had any stake in Brown’s company. He continued to report to Congress that he personally owned the land.
_After getting local officials to rezone the property for a shopping center, Brown’s company sold the land in 2004 to other developers and Reid took $1.1 million of the proceeds, nearly tripling the senator’s investment. Reid reported it to Congress as a personal land sale.
The complex dealings allowed Reid to transfer ownership, legal liability and some tax consequences to Brown’s company without public knowledge, but still collect a seven-figure payoff nearly three years later.
Reid hung up the phone when questioned about the deal during an AP interview last week.
I summerized this deal some months back like so:
Basically Reid buys some residentially zoned land, he transfers it to an LLC corporation for no profit, but a share of the LLC. Then, the LLC applies to rezone that land to a commercial zone but they are denied. They appeal it and during that appeal Reid’s partner mentions Reids name and bam….the land is rezoned. The LLC then sells the land for a 1.2 million profit. Harry gets a profit and fails to notify the Senate.
Go to my post also to hear the famous Harry Reid hang-up when a local Las Vegas reporter started questioning this deal.
Anyways, to this day I cannot find anything written on this Reid land deal at The Blotter.
Surprised? I’m not. Just another example of the obvious bias in our MSM.
Don Surber wrote about the AP’s obvious bias on this story last Saturday