In a report from the Wall Street Journal, Flannery Associates, an investment company, has spent nearly $1 billion in the last five years alone buying up land next to the base in Solano County.
Flannery's attorneys have said that "speculation" about “Flannery’s purchases" having anything to do with the land's proximity to the base is unfounded. Flannery has bought up dozens of plots of land and in court filings said it had paid “multiples of fair market value" price in order to get the land.
Officials do not think the patterns of the purchases make sense. County supervisor Mich Mashburn said, "The majority of the land they’re purchasing is dry farmland."
"I don’t see where that land can turn a profit to make it worth almost a billion dollars in investment," he continued.
Questions have arisen, and similar concerns were raised in Noth Dakota when a Chinese-owned company began buying land around the Grand Forks Air Force Base to build a wet corn mill plant.
Flannery has stated that 97 percent of its investors are from the United States. Local and federal officials have been unable to identify those who are behind the Flannery group and its statement of American ownership cannot be confirmed by federal agencies.
The group is filed as an LLC in Delaware and, as a result of state laws, does not have to publicly disclose the identity of its owners.
"Nobody can figure out who they are," the mayor of Rio Vista, Ronald Kott, said. "Whatever they're doing - this looks like a very long-term play."
Flannery said in June that because no foreign person "holds any significant interest or substantial control" of the company, it does not need to register its holdings in Solano County.
20 parcels of land that Flannery owns directly surround the Travis base. The registered agent for Flannery Associates is The Corporation Trust Company in Wilmington Delaware.
The trust company registers itself as its own registered agent and hides any identifiable information. The BBB ratings of The Corporation Trust Company show multiple written complaints claiming that there is not one person working for the entity.
A profile of The Corporation Trust Company also alleges that it has not had a single employee for the last five years.
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