The New York Times reported that billionaire venture capitalist Michael Moritz, along with other tech industry moguls, has been purchasing the land with the intention of creating a new California city near San Francisco, which is also within short distance of Silicon Valley.
The vision is to transform tens of thousands of acres into a vibrant metropolis, according to Mr. Moritz and the investors, that would be just as walkable as Paris or the West Village in New York City. In addition, they say, this new city would provide employment for thousands of people.
Moritz had sent a note in 2017 to a potential investor and explained his vision, saying, "Let me know if this tickles your fancy," according to the note obtained by The Times.
Shortly after, Flannery Associates entered the scene and has been purchasing vast amounts of property in a primarily agricultural area near San Francisco. In order to acquire thousands of acres of farmland, the corporation, about which little information is publicly available, has pledged more than $800 million, according to court filings.
The company made proposals to every landowner for miles, one parcel after another, whether or not the land was up for sale, paying several times the market price, the outlet reports.
Jan Sramek, 36, a former Goldman Sachs trader, is reportedly the mastermind behind Flannery Associates and has sought out investors from some of the largest names in the tech industry.
The investors are some of Silicon Valley's most notable names, according to The Times, which include Mr. Moritz; Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, venture capitalist, and Democratic donor; Chris Dixon and Marc Andreessen, investors at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz; John and Patrick Collison, brothers who founded Stripe, a payments company; Laurene Powell Jobs, creator of the Emerson Collective; Nat Friedman, a former entrepreneur turned investor; and Laurene Powell Jobs. Another investor is Andreessen Horowitz. The amount invested by each party has not been disclosed.
The investment group, according to Brian Brokaw, a representative for Flannery Associates, is comprised of "Californians who believe that Solano County's and California's best days are ahead." He stated that the team intended to begin working with Travis Air Force Base, Solano County citizens, and government leaders in the next week, according to NYT.
The significant purchase of farmland was a massive mystery and headache for politicians who had spent years investigating who might be behind the purchase.
Since Flannery Associates is filed as an LLC in Delaware, as a result of state laws, the company does not have to publicly disclose the identity of its owners. The registered agent for Flannery Associates is The Corporation Trust Company in Wilmington Delaware.
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.
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.
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