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Update III: The Democratic challenger, Mr. John Rinaldi, is here with us. Please see his comments below and ask him any questions you may have.

Incredible news.  Those who know of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) know that he has been implicated in shady dealings in the past, especially with his previous close relationship to disgraced former GOP Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

But there had been no smoking gun, no irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing that would expose Hunter's corruption.

Until now.

In a article published today, the San Diego Union Tribune (NOTE:  this is San Diego's primary newspaper, and is decidedly conservative-leaning!) breaks news of a previously unknown land deal that was most likely illegal, and that allowed Hunter to avoid thousands of dollars in property taxes.

These Republicans have grown so complacent, with their seemingly unbreakable grip on government, that scandals are blooming like wildflowers.

That's why we need to win back Congress next month, and this new Duncan Hunter scandal is going to do just that:

(Can anybody say "Congressman John Rinaldi"?)

The backstory:

Back in the winter of 1994, after reapportionment reshaped California's congressional districts, Rep. Duncan Hunter went shopping for a new home.

When Rep. Duncan Hunter set out to rebuild his home lost in the Cedar fire, it became clear the tax assessment had been wrong for years.
The seven-term Republican from Coronado headed east, to the foothills outside El Cajon, where he discovered what would become his quiet retreat from the vagaries of Beltway politics.

The house in Alpine was in bad shape. Hunter and his wife, Helynn, looked past the leaky roof, water-stained drywall and torn-up floors and saw 2.7 acres of potential. They paid the $175,000 asking price and poured $160,000 into repairs and improvements.

Okay, he bought a house - so what?

The situation:

Tax rolls listed the property as a two-bedroom, 2½-bath house with 2,946 square feet of living space. The property records were wrong.

However...

According to Hunter's insurance carrier, the house was more than twice that size - about 6,200 square feet. The property also featured a 2,000-square-foot guest house, a swimming pool and tennis court.

The scandal:

This is the important point.  Instead of doing the right thing and reporting the real value of his new property, Duncan Hunter hid the facts and avoided thousands of dollars of taxes as a result!!

A county assessor visited the six-bedroom house soon after Hunter bought it and took pictures, the congressman said.

But the home's description wasn't corrected in the property file. The house was reappraised at $249,000 - above the sale price but below its market value.

It looks like the Congressman purposefully avoided paying thousands of dollars in property taxes.  Better to let us regular working people pay those annoying taxes, eh Mr. Hunter?

The coverup:

Hunter refused to give assessors permission to discuss details about his property with The San Diego Union-Tribune, which has been examining the holdings of public officials since a bribery scandal last year sent former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham to federal prison.

Hmm, a bribery scandal... involving shady dealings... lead to the improsonment of a San Diego Congressman.  No wonder Hunter is keeping mum.

The scandal grows:

Hunter's Alpine property was owned by the federal government months before he bought it, something he says he did not know at the time.

...

The house went into foreclosure in 1993, by which time the lender had been seized by the Resolution Trust Corp., the agency formed by Congress in 1989 to bail out hundreds of failed thrifts.

Hunter was among those who voted to create the Resolution Trust Corp., a bill that passed the House 201-175 and was signed by President George H.W. Bush.

The resulting sell-off of more than 700 savings-and-loan institutions and their assets was estimated by the government to cost taxpayers at least $325 billion.

According to county records, the Resolution Trust Corp. sold the 2.7 acres on Vista Viejas Road at public auction Dec. 15, 1993. State Street Bank and Trust paid $175,000 for the parcel and took title Jan. 4, 1994.

Wait, did I read that right?

So Duncan Hunter bought a huge piece of property from the federal government at below market price... and then hid the true value from local government so as to avoid thousands of dollars in property taxes (which otherwise would have gone to schools, hospitals, etc.)??

Unfortunately, I think that's the gist of it.

Or should I say "Unfortunately for Mr. Hunter"?

This is a huge scandal.  Duncan Hunter, supposedly the people's representative in our United States Congress, has been using his position of power to bilk taxpayers of thousands of dollars!

Well, my fellow Kossacks, it just so happens there are a few little things WE can do about this...

.....

Action Items:

1. Research!!!  We have had success before in finding new information that ends up fueling the larger narrative... let's dig.

2. Recommend.  I wouldn't normally ask for recs, but WE ARE THE MEDIA NOW.  This can be seen much more widely on Daily Kos than in a local newspaper.  The more people hear about this, the more likely it is that Duncan Hunter will be sitting on his couch at home next January, rather than in Washington, D.C.  We have the power!

3.  Donate to John Rinaldi.  This guy is for real.  I have had the opportunity to meet him in person, and I have no doubt he will be an amazing Congressman.  But he is obviously at a HUGE disadvantage money-wise to Hunter.  That's where we can help.

I will update soon with more information about John Rinaldi. (See my previous diary)

.....

Update I: Some people seem to be saying that "this isn't a big enough scandal" or something like that... well excuse me, but I say f-ck that. San Diego has been rocked by numerous bribery/corruption scandals lately (almost exclusively Republican-owned, too) which means people here are sensitive to this sort of thing. I'm telling you, this WILL make a difference in the race.

In fact, I'm so convinced we have a chance to get rid of Hunter and put a truly good guy in Congress, that: I hereby pledge and solemnly swear to donate $1 for every Kossack that donates to the Rinaldi campaign today!!

Even a $5 donation can help tremendously... I know you have probably donated to many other campaigns already, but please consider one more. Honestly, you'd be surprised how much of a difference $5 and $10 donations can make.

And I repeat, I will donate $1 to the Rinaldi campaign for every donation made by a fellow Kossack. Just note in a comment here that you have made a donation. I will trust you. Thanks!

---Benjaminwise

(If this makes the recommended list, I better take out a loan :0))

.....

Update II: I wanted to post a link to Hannibal's diary the other day, which was awesome.

Here are some quotes from that diary that show Kossacks opinions of John Rinaldi:

Touche (3+ / 0-)

Gotta love Rinaldi's fire!

Duncan Hunter is such an ass.

by SherAn

...

Man, that is freaking poetry. (8+ / 0-)

Mr. Rinaldi, that rant just earned you some loot from the east coast. Right on, brother!

by strengthANDwisdom

.....

Update III: The Democratic challenger, Mr. John Rinaldi, is here with us. Please see his comments below and ask him any questions you may have of him. Thanks for showing up, John!

.....

Update IV: In a comment below, JTML found this gem (apparently, Duke Cunningham's webpage is still up, even though he is now sitting in prison!):

Although his primary role as a member of this Subcommittee is to craft the annual defense spending bill, Cunningham still works closely with his colleague, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Duncan Hunter on national and local defense policy matters.

It certainly would figure that these two guys were involved in shady deals together. One got caught (Duke) and one (Duncan)... well, let's hope he just got caught!

.....

Update V: Please see this excellent, yet overlooked, diary by suskind. You will begin to see the depths of corruption to which Duncan Hunter has sunk...

.....

Update VI: I wanted to post some of John Rinaldi's comments from the thread below:

We actually had a poll completed recently and we knocked hunter's strong re-elects down to 52% from his normal high 60's. This was before the Foley mess and now this insider trading-house buying scandal.

And...

Thanks for media input. TV in Southern California costs too much. We found out in our 5 person primary that radio works and is cheap. Every $80.00 is one more 30 second spot. There is a great link on our website to our here on of the spots we ran in the primary.

We are working on the new spots now.

Thanks!

My fellow Kossacks, you heard what the man said... this race is tightening, especially after the Foley scandal and now Hunter's own scandal - we CAN win this seat!

John is running a great campaign, and is ready to get his message out to the voters. Your $10 can help him get more radio ads up!

Also...

WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR JOHN RINALDI..

We need a lot of help, and it help us track people volunteering if you go to our website and click on volunteer. On Tuesday I will be speaking out for veterans and we need our supporters there and Hunter may show up. Come support Vets and our campaign and grab a RINALDI sign and hold it high!

OPERATION UNITED REVEILLE III

Raise Public Awareness and Support for American and Homeless Veterans Left Behind.

EAGLES FOE ERIE #244

3848 Center Street

San Diego, CA

619-296-2141

TUESDAY OCTOBER 10th at 7PM

JOHN.

Thanks for stepping up!

.....

Update VII: Wow, I'm amazed at the impact this diary has had. A big thank you to all those who donated... I am keeping a tally of the total and will live up to my promise once the tally is final. Thank you!!!

Originally posted to Benjaminwise on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:04 PM PDT.

Poll

When Duncan Hunter loses...

7%60 votes
38%307 votes
41%333 votes
13%107 votes

| 807 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  GOP money scandals=no legs (16+ / 0-)

    No one is surprised when Republicans game the system for personal profit. Down here in Ga., Sonny Perdue has been tied to a similar scam. It's had zero effect on the race, 'cause it's a "dog bites man" story for a Republican to cheat for money.

    What takes these guys down is sex scandals, 'cause it hits 'em where their supposed strength is.

  •  I'm not sure this has heat (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlyoshaKaramazov, Phil S 33

    Looks like there is enough fudge room wo wiggle out of this one.

    You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan designed and directed by his red right hand

    by RandyMI on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:07:35 PM PDT

  •  TO wiggle out of this one (0+ / 0-)

    You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan designed and directed by his red right hand

    by RandyMI on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:08:35 PM PDT

  •  I wish the poll had a choice that said (28+ / 0-)

    Duncan Hunter is another Pathetic, Lying, Cheating, Constitution hating, Republican Asshole and needs to be voted out this November and go directly to Jail. Throw the bums OUT.

    I am typing my fingers to the bone for Harry, his little hippie River, us, and America.

    by Chamonix on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:08:41 PM PDT

  •  I am recommending this diary (23+ / 0-)

    Hopefully, CA-52 will soon be in play.

    We really need to redistrict CA the way Republicans did TX - make it so there are only a few Republican districts.

    We can do that once we get a Democratic Gov.

    We need to do the same in Illinois.

  •  One quibble (11+ / 0-)

    Property taxes are paid to local jurisdictions, not IRS.

    "There is no barrier of people's acceptance. The only barrier is the media. Remember what people cannot see or hear, they cannot think about."

    by dugjxn on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:10:21 PM PDT

  •  I SOOO disagree with the pessimist posters ... (51+ / 0-)

    To the pessimists who say this story doesn't have legs -- maybe, maybe not; sometimes you go to the polls with the scandal you have, not the scandal you wish you had.

    But I think we should keep in mind that property taxes are a bread-and-butter issue for most (property owning) voters. Property taxes are a tangible issue -- everybody pays 'em, nobody likes to pay 'em, and everybody wants them to be fair. People are always looking out to see what their neighbors are paying, and if someone pays less than their fair share, it's the kind of thing that sticks in your craw.

    I hope you stick to this issue. Write to your local papers and complain about your Republican incumbent taking advantage to get out of paying what everybody else has to pay.  Even moreso, take a look at what your local property taxes are used for: schools?  Hunter is cheating schoolkids. Sewers and roads? Hunter is cheating commuters. Hunter thinks everybody should pay taxes ...except himself.  

    Keep at it. This election cycle is all about the tipping points; you never know what's going to be the straw that breaks the voters' backs.

    I'll only tip and rec you if you promise to write a scathing letter to the editor of your local paper, and send this story to your local news outlet.

    Left. Because it's right.

    by 4thepeople on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:16:46 PM PDT

  •  Now, did they find a dead girl on the property? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, Hannibal, JVolvo
  •  Keep it simple when you tell the voters in this (18+ / 0-)

    district. Write the ad to make it sound simple, and really bad, like "Congressman X cheated the taxpayers of his district" with the news source.  And don't buy the BS that "it won't work". If there was something worse, then maybe. But you don't know until you try.

  •  I wonder how many of his (0+ / 0-)

    rich Republican constituents have done the same thing.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:25:49 PM PDT

  •  Damn (13+ / 0-)

    I just diaried this too, ah well. Glad to see more people trying to get rid of Duncan Hunter.

    Everyone knows the Low Rider.

    by Hannibal on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:27:17 PM PDT

  •  Don't we have a philosophy for this? (9+ / 0-)

    What is it, "Contest a whole buncha seats?"  Nono, not quite right.  "Contest several targetted seats in swing states?"  Nah, that was still T-Mac's party.  

    "Contest Every Seat"  Sometimes, you win them.

    Throw the bums out!

    by Mikey on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:30:42 PM PDT

  •  Big enough scandal? (26+ / 0-)

    Remember what they did to Jim Wright.  Diary by Intrepid Liberal:

    Gingrich filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee about matters that seem rather pedestrian today. Ostensibly, Wright was accused of using bulk purchases of his book, Reflections of a Public Man to earn speaking fees in excess of the allowed maximum. The report issued by the House Ethics Committee also charged that Wright's wife, Betty, was given a job and perks to avoid the limit on gifts.

    Gingrich skillfully exploited the media to stoke outrage and promote both Wright and Democrats as representing a culture of corruption. Among those who supported Gingrich's public relations offensive against Wright was a Republican Minority Whip from Wyoming named Dick Cheney prior to becoming George Bush's Secretary of Defense.

    k/o: 2006 politics and local blogs

    by kid oakland on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:32:01 PM PDT

  •  Recommended (9+ / 0-)

    Blips on the radar screen become mainstream news because we research it, we oped it, we e-mail it and we continue it. If the MSM happens to find it worthy eventually, or feel they have to report it, or have some blank space looking for meat to sacrifice, then our efforts are even that more rewarding.

    At first I thought 9-11 was the last straw. Now I know that fictionalizing it to smear is the ultimate tragedy.

    by niteskolar on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:32:59 PM PDT

  •  What these taxes pay for (7+ / 0-)

    Considering that property taxes are one of the main funding sources for public education in America why shouldn't people feel outrage.

  •  Only if the Dems STEP UP TO THE PLATE. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bosdcla14, Benjaminwise, tovan, Hannibal

    Easy lob after easy toss can come over the plate, but unless they step up and take a good, hard swing, it means nothing.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

    by Loboguara on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:44:53 PM PDT

  •  I don't know if this has legs or not but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bosdcla14, tovan, Hannibal

    I hope those in a position to harp on this, do so. Another timely repub problem. I love it! we can use all the help they want to give us. Give them a little more rope!

    Repug credo: If you can't Dazzle them with Brilliance Baffle them with Bullshit! http://anaverageamericanpatriot.blogspot.com

    by jmsjoin on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:47:07 PM PDT

  •  See also (4+ / 0-)

    Titan's Investment in Torture Compromise
    for Titan's investment in MCA2006/Duncan Hunter

    "Mr. Speaker, I mourn democracy." Barney Frank, House of Representatives, 06/29/06

    by suskind on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:49:09 PM PDT

  •  Not Too Fast to Condemn Hunter on This Part (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xynz, smartgo, tovan

    If the county property appraiser failed to update the listing to its assessed value, that's their misfeasance unless Rep. Hunter paid to have the record misrepresent the true value of the home.

    Then there are two guilty parties, and San Diego has more than a scandal about a single politco, they've got a county government scandal.

    The other stuff about Federal foreclosure dealings is real juicy, especially if it can be proven that he did know at the time he purchased the Alpin property that it was held by the Feds.  And it would be pretty hard to deny knowing such a thing, since the Fed. Gov. name would have to be on the deed of sale.

    Did he use a real estate agent in the deal?  A lawyer?  Start with the RE agent, if one exists.

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:51:26 PM PDT

    •  Assessor said (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Benjaminwise, tovan, Ellicatt, kurt

      It was a 2 bedroom, 2,964 square feet home, when it was in reality a 6 bedroom, 6,200 square feet home, with a 2,000 square feet guest house and a tennis court. That was when he bought it. It's not just a minor discrepancy.

      Everyone knows the Low Rider.

      by Hannibal on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:53:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But who is at fault? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Limelite

        I think most voters will think it was a lucky break, unless he used his position or money to influence the assessor.  Wouldn't mosts people like to avoid increased taxes?  I don't know if the fact he is a politician will override that.

        Now, whether or not he should have realized the property was undervalued....I don't know how detailed the tax forms are in CA, but here, we just get something with last year's value, this year's value and the plat/lot number.  There isn't any way to see the square footage unless you actually go to the county assessor -- here, that is on the web, but few people seem to know how to access that data.

        Should he have noticed that the taxes didn't jump?  Maybe...eventually.  But are you sure they didn't?  Without doing a thing to our house, we saw our value go up 25% one year, just from some 'adjustments' made by the county regarding the real estate market. The value for tax purposes is still at least 25% below FMV.

        •  Ok (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maggiemae, Benjaminwise

          So if Duncan Hunter is in fact an innocent victim in all of this, what possible motivation would the assessor have to confuse a 2,900 sq ft house with a 6,200 sq ft house? The guest house was 2/3rds the size of what the assessor put down. At present, Duncan Hunter won't allow the Union Tribune to see all the notes and other paperwork involved with the calculation of his home's value, so it's not like he even has the appearance of wanting to get that cleared up, he's already in denial mode.

          Everyone knows the Low Rider.

          by Hannibal on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:09:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How Is It (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Benjaminwise, fhcec, ca democrat

            that those papers aren't part of the public record; aren't they part and parcel with the assessor's valuation?  Ayone out there got an explanation?  In Florida, tax rolls are open to all.  Does CA have "government in the sunshine" laws like FL?

            They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

            by Limelite on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:15:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Law is (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Limelite

              That the purchaser has to give permission, otherwise those papers are considered private. Not sure why the law is that way, but that's how it is.

              Everyone knows the Low Rider.

              by Hannibal on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:17:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, actually, (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lanshark, Benjaminwise, Limelite, LNK, CJnyc

                tax information is public. Here's what I was able to dig up:

                Primary Owner: HUNTER,DUNCAN & HELYNN
                Mail Address: 0 PO BOX 2233 ALPINE, CA 91903
                Site Address: 9635 VISTA VIEJAS RD, ALPINE, CA 91901
                APN: 402-160-17
                Census Tract: 212.011
                Page Grid Old: 51R-A3
                Page Grid New: 1234-A3
                Legal Description: DOC95790REC72 IN SEQ OF SEQ SEC 16-15-2E

                Property Characteristics
                Bedrooms: 2
                Year Built: 1975
                Bathrooms: 2.5 Garage: Y/4 space
                Zoning: R1 Pool/View: Y/
                Square Feet: 2,946
                Bathrooms: 2.5
                Lot Size: 117,176 sq ft / 2.69 acres
                Number of Units: 1
                Zoning: R1
                Use Code: Single Family Residence

                Sale & Loan Information
                Transfer Date: 10-12-1994
                Seller:
                Transfer Value:
                Cost/Sq Feet: $0.00
                First Loan Amt: $25,000
                Lender: Valle DE Oro

                Loan Type: C

                Interest Rate Type: V
                Assessed & Tax Information
                Assessed Value: $148,151
                Land Value: $118,165
                Tax Amount: $1,293
                Improvement Value: $29,986
                Tax Status: current

                Interestingly, it shows the current assessed valuation as lower than the supposed $175,000 sale price from 1994. So, assuming he actually paid $175,000 for it in 1994 (as the article cited in the diary states), and the assessed value (per Prop 13) were raised 2% every year since, his current assessed valuation (assuming no other changes) should be around $220,000 (that's very rough, off the top of my head).

                Now, it is hardly unheard of for California counties to be slow in reassessing properties after improvements, changes of use, etc.; it varies quite a bit from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and even within the same jurisdiction.

                So, this could be either a simple case of bureaucratic ineptitude (not uncommon) combined with disingenuousness on the part of a property owner ("Oh, gee, I had no idea the assessed value was so low; I'll run right down to the assessor's office and get this straightened out!"), or perhaps a conspiracy. I have no idea.

                It would be worth pulling the county assessor's records on this, just to nail it down. My information is usually pretty good, but far from infallible.

                FWIW, my $.02.

                As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

                by occams hatchet on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:30:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Part of that (7+ / 0-)

                  Lowered value is because of the Cedar fires, the home was destroyed. Being rebuilt now. As to the information that's not public, this is what I was referring to, from the article:

                  Hunter refused to give assessors permission to discuss details about his property with The San Diego Union-Tribune, which has been examining the holdings of public officials since a bribery scandal last year sent former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham to federal prison.

                  As well as this:

                  The California Revenue and Taxation Code regulates what information can be made public and what should remain confidential between property owners and their county government.
                  A home's sale price, assessed value, taxes paid, square footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms are all matters of public record.

                  Information not open to public inspection includes appraiser notes and other factors used to calculate assessments, letters between homeowners and the county or other paperwork related to assessed values, said Butler, the assistant county assessor.

                  “Only the owner of the property can give us the permission to release that information,” he said.

                  Hunter said there is no reason to permit a review of his property file. Questions about his initial purchase and the calculation of the property taxes amounted to “an extremely prejudicial inquiry” on the part of the newspaper, he said.

                  So there are things that aren't public, that do seem important.

                  Everyone knows the Low Rider.

                  by Hannibal on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:35:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Okay, so the structure was destroyed (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Benjaminwise, Limelite, Hannibal

                    in the Cedar Fire? When was that, 2004? It should be a relatively straightforward matter to go back through the assessor's tax records, as well as local building permits (from which much tax assessor's appraisal information is derived) for all years prior, and ascertain the history of the property vis-a-vis assessed valuation.

                    As for its valuation since the fire, that should be super easy: Was there a change in assessed valuation due to destruction? Was the structure rebuilt? Were permits pulled for the reconstruction? What do those permits say?

                    This is not rocket science, just gumshoe work. Somebody's gotta go down to the county recorder's office, the department of buildng and safety, and the assessor's office, as well as talking to the neighbors (to verify that what's going on on the ground matches up with the official paperwork; i.e., there's really only a 6,000-sf house there, not a 15,000 behemoth, etc.).

                    It's Journalism 101 - which, of course, nowadays means it might well never get done . . .

                    As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

                    by occams hatchet on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:45:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Good On You! (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  occams hatchet, ca democrat

                  How about that Seller: (blank)!  Whazzup with that?  But no mention of a second dwelling on the property referred to in the diary.

                  Is this record for the property in question, or does another tax record cover the second dwelling?  Is their another property Hunter might have purchased in the Alpine locale?

                  Something doesn't seem to compute.

                  They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

                  by Limelite on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 07:05:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It could be any number of things (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Limelite, ca democrat

                    My guess is the seller was the same as the Lender (Valle de Oro Bank), since, according to some info I Googled earlier today (sorry, don't have the links anymore), VDOB took over some assets from a failed bank in the late '80s or early '90s, presumably including some residences, as REO (Real Estate Owned) through the Resolution Trust Corp.

                    This type of information often doesn't show up on the type of profile I noted above. It's usually a very simple matter of bureaucratic something or other, not malicious intent. But you never know.

                    As far as other properties owned by Hunter, this was the only one I could come up with in San Diego County - although it's entirely possible (if not in fact likely) that he could own others through a trust, LLC, or in his wife's maiden name, for instance.

                    As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

                    by occams hatchet on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 11:45:38 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  i have asked our Assessor for copies of their (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Benjaminwise, Limelite

              files on properties and there is actually quite a bit they can give you.

              How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

              by ca democrat on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:37:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  We've seen it happen before -- human error. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Limelite, ca democrat

            I was talking to a realtor about the listed tax basis for a house we wanted to buy, and how it seemed extremely low for the value/asking price, and she told me that the data entry sometimes gets screwed up.  Also, some assessors are lazy.

            Now, that doesn't mean Hunter isn't running a scam, just that I'm anal retentive about gathering facts.   It seems pretty sketchy to me that he won't allow anyone to see the papers, though I admit I don't understand what he would have on hand besides what he paid and what he put into it -- and spending doesn't necessarily correlate to value.

      •  Huh? <n/t> (0+ / 0-)

        You want a different word than "misfeasance"?  "Fraud," perhaps?

        They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

        by Limelite on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:12:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Would be great to get Hunter out of Congress (6+ / 0-)

    I swear, my state seems to have a disproportionate share of dishonest and corrupt Republican congressmen:

    Duke Cunningham
    David Drier
    Jerry Lewis
    John Dolittle (he of the 'my wife gets 15% of our campaign contributions---what, is there something wrong with that)
    Dick Pombo
    and now Duncan Hunter.

    Ugh.  I hope we start getting Democrats replacing these crooks.  

    No time to complain, we've got a democracy to bring back to life!

    by bosdcla14 on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 03:51:44 PM PDT

    •  Add Ken Calvert (R) 44th to this list (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bosdcla14, Benjaminwise, Hannibal

      Rep. Calvert's Land of Plenty
      He has earmarked funds for Riverside County projects near properties he sold for a profit.

      Calvert

      Calvert is also tied to Abramhoff
      And is currently being investigated for ties to the Lobby firm of Copeland, Lowrey,Denton and white

      Calvert scandal PDF

      The question should be how many GOP congressman are not involved in some type of political or financial wrongdoing. That would be a very small list.
      In the heavily GOP 44th district Louis Vandenberg is waving at windmills
      vandenberg

      Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. ~James Bryce

      by california keefer on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:39:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  HUNTER FALL ON YOUR SWORD LIKE CUNNINGHAM! (34+ / 0-)

    Here we go again.  When are people going to wake up?  Duke Cunningham always said Duncan Hunter was his mentor and taught him everything he knows.  Now we wake up and find Hunter’s misdeeds jumping off the front page of the conservative Union-Tribune. I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree.   I cannot imagine anyone is surprised.  The biggest part of the story, in my opinion is Hunter bought a property that was owned by the Federal Government, and sold by the Resolution Trust Corp, an agency formed by a congressional bill that Hunter voted for, big surprise.  The rules were strict and clear, “key federal employees” and others were prohibited from buying seized properties because they have inside information, Hunter certainly had that inside information. One of his own, a Baptist minister admitted he told Hunter about the home for over two years before Hunter bought it.  Insider trading in this instance is a violation of federal law and the penalty is jail.   This would be a good time for Hunter to get in touch with Martha Stewart and get some tips since they both acted to increase their fat wallets by breaking the same law.  Maybe she can help him pick his new showers shoes for his future long-term visit with Cunningham.

    Come on Hunter, its time to be a man, and either prove you are innocent or more likely admit what you did.  Learn a lesson from Cunningham, admit what you did early and save the taxpayers the time and money of an investigation, trial and ultimately another special election.  

    But hey we know you won’t, you lost your balls a long time ago, and now your just another blow hard, lying member of Congress, collecting a fat paycheck while you screw every working man and woman in this country.  Of course, we are guilty too, cause we are too dumb to say NO WE DON’T WANT TO GET SCREWED and keep sending you back to Congress to do it all over again.  

    THIS IS THE YEAR.  NO MORE!  NO MORE RIGHT WING, LYING, BIGOTED, HOMOPHOBIC, RACIST, REPUBLICAN HACKS.  NO MORE MANIPULATING THE VOTE, RIGGING THE MACHINES AND STEALING ELECTIONS.  NO MORE INVADING OUR HOMES AND OUR PRIVATE LIVES, STEALING OUR MONEY, RIPPING US OFF.  NO MORE WARS THAT SERVE ONLY ONE PURPOSE TO MAKE YOU AND YOUR BUDDIES MORE MONEY.

    NO MORE.  WE ARE ALL YOUR EXIT STRATEGY.

    SINCERLY

    JOHN RINALDI,
    DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS CA-52
    “I AM HUNTER’S EXIT STRATEGY”
    www.rinaldiforcongress.org
    john@rinaldiforcongress.org

    PS STAY TUNED MORE ON HUNTER'S LOVE SHACK NEXT!  

  •  Bring this into focus (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2lucky, RanxeroxVox, Hannibal, MsCasey

    What exactly is the scandal here?

    Hunter bought a house and made improvements to it. Typically, homes in california are assessed based on their sales price. Under state law, assessed value can increase no more than 2% per year. It gets slightly more complicated when homeowners make improvements to their homes. If improvements are permitted, re-assessment is done based on the value of the improvements. Apparently, this did happen with Hunter's home. It may have even been done correctly. There is no scandal so far. Maybe not even any minor wrongdoing on anyone's part.

    There are, however, two other things that seem a bit strange.

    First: How and why did Hunter come to purchase a home from a seller that bought the property just a short time earlier, directly from the RTC, yet sold the property for the same price it had purchased it for, and paid a commission to sell it, to boot, guaranteeing a loss on the property? This at a time when everyone buying property from the RTC was buying it at a discount, and selling for a profit. Did Hunter make an inside deal with the RTC?

    Second: Why was Hunter's home listed as being under 3,000 feet, when it was actually over 6,000 feet? This is not uncommon, specially with properties that were once owned by the RTC, however, the key question is, did Hunter buy a 3,000 square foot home and add improvements increasing the square footage to over 6,000, or is this the way he bought it? If he added the improvements, and they weren't permitted, and therefore, no re-assessment was done, he has cheated the tax collector (and the taxpayers) out of significant property taxes. If the house was over 6,000 feet when he bought it, this is a dead end.

    •  I wouldn't hold what a realtor says in a listing (0+ / 0-)

      as a fact, although I can't explain why one would purposefully halve the actual amount. If Hunter knew that this was the case, or that his property was undervalued, this is one of those "fibs" that many of us do (ever cheat on an expense account or you Schedule A?). But then, none of us is representing the Party of Moral Certitude, and so we are not beholden to live exemplary lives.

      What is sad is that anyone in California cheats on their property taxes, since you all pay shit compared to the rest of us, especially we that live in New England.

      17. Ne5

      In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

      by Spud1 on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:12:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't understand the process in CA (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Spud1, Hannibal

        We don't tell the county tax assessor anything when we buy a property. Its all part of public record. A property sells, it is re-assessed at the sales price, end of story. Buy for $200,000, your property taxes are $2,000 per year (plus ancillary fees, etc) whether the house is 3,000 or 6,000 square feet. The size doesn't matter. Only the price paid.

        The only cheating that can be done is when un-permitted improvements are made. If improvements are permitted, it is the assessor that determines the value, not the taxpayer. If the taxpayer doesn't like the assessment, they can be appealed.

        •  Yes, I remember how the assessment works, as (0+ / 0-)

          I lived there when Prop 19 was passed (I voted against it). I am surprised to learn that there are very few ways to cheat.

          None the less, Cali has no idea what real estate tax can be like. We pay over $4300 a year on our house valued at $240,000. It is high for Maine, but then we are a county seat, and have A LOT of non-taxable property. The NFP hospital just bought an office building off MBNA for $1M, and now that will be removed from the tax rolls, for the rest of us to make up.

          And it's worse in other areas!

          17. Ne5

          In chess you may hit a man when he's down -- Irving Chernev, on Przepiorka v. Prokes, Budapest, 1929

          by Spud1 on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:08:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Kane in Ca hit the nail on the head. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kane in CA, Hannibal

      In accordance with Proposition 13, property taxes in California are based upon purchase price not market or assessed value. The only time that an re-assessment would be done is if permitted improvements are made.

      If I bought a house in 1980 for $150,000, my tax base would be $150,000 augmented each year by a nominal amount. Someone buys an identical house in 2004 next door to me and pays $600,000, his tax base is $600,000 augmented by the same annual nominal percentage. His taxes would be about 3 times mine. Blame Howard Jarvis.

      It appears that Duncan's house was re-assessed when he made improvements. That assessment should have been based upon the purchase price plus increased value based solely upon the improvements. Unless there are unknown facts, this dog won't hunt, unfortunately.

      Yes, I live in California and my entire family is in real estate.

      I am a Democrat and a combat veteran and damn proud of both.

      by OhioCav on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:34:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As a fellow Californian, the way ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AmericanRiverCanyon

        ...I understand the law is that your $150,000 house in 1980 would have started out at 1% of that sales value - $1500. By now, if your taxes were increased the maximum of 2% each year, you could be paying $2412 a year in taxes. The neighbor who bought her house for $600,000 this year would be paying $6000 in taxes even though your two houses might be, essentially identical, in terms of today's market value.

        •  Thanks to Prop 13 you are 100% correct. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oldjohnbrown

          Actually, I paid $168,000 in 1986 and my taxes are about $2400. Yes, my neighbor is paying about $6,000. If I sell my house for $600,000, then buy another for $650,000, I will pay about $6500 in taxes. However, If I stay in Santa Barbara County (or a co-operating county) and buy another house for less than $600,000, I retain my old tax base.

          Ain't it wonderful? The bottom line is that I and most of my neighbors (mostly older rich folks) have a tax base much lower than the younger folks who are moving up in housing.

          I bought a lower-priced rental house two years ago and am paying more taxes on it than on my residence.

          I am a Democrat and a combat veteran and damn proud of both.

          by OhioCav on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 07:51:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  great points (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Benjaminwise

      you seem to imply a "staw man buyer" because a crime would have been committed if he was the listed buyer.

      The RTC scandal made a lot of the Bush Crime Syndicate rich (and one of the Bush brothers should have gone to jail).

      How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

      by ca democrat on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:42:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Straw man buyer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Benjaminwise, ca democrat

        I have no idea, but it does seem like a logical place to look. I've done quite a bit of business with State Street Bank, and never known them to be a real estate investor, but rather, more commonly, a trustee on behalf of a buyer (they have a huge trust department). So Hunter could have arranged for a straw man buyer, to purchase the property from the RTC, with his inside influence (at a below market value price maybe?) and then, in turn, purchase it from that straw man at the same reduced price. Without a lot more evidence though, at this point its no more than a totally unsubstantiated possibilty.

  •  Diebold Still Counts the Votes. (0+ / 0-)

    The voters may remove him, but he will win.

    Diebold counts the votes.

    Senate will be 51R 49D.

    At most Diebold will let the Ds pick up 12 seats in the house.

  •  ALL LOCALS in HUNTERS DISTRICT... (10+ / 0-)

    Print out copies of this Article.
    Use it to go door to door
    Use it to hand out in front of Supermarkets
    Use it to tire Hunter to it and all other Republican
    Corruption. Throw the bums out. This local issue needs to be brought to the forefront of the race. Do it NOW on the heels of the Foley Scandal. Do it NOW. It is all about timing and NOW is the TIME.

    I am typing my fingers to the bone for Harry, his little hippie River, us, and America.

    by Chamonix on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:17:26 PM PDT

    •  Excellent ideas! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Benjaminwise, oceanview, Hannibal, kath25

      Put a copy on every windshield at the supermarket.  Keep it simple and straight-forward.

      I wish we had something like this on our Olivia, the torture supporter.

      "Do your best, and keep your sense of humor."--My Mom

      by mainely49 on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:19:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only problem (0+ / 0-)

      Is that I don't think most people would take the time to read the whole thing. Better to have it somehow condensed, in an easy to read manner. Short attention spans, and people generally being not too thrilled with fliers and other handouts.

      Everyone knows the Low Rider.

      by Hannibal on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:38:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please don't discourage ideas, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oceanview, vox humana

        regardless of how you feel about flyers and ideas. We need every vote we can get. We must GOTV and let the locals know that the Republican party is full of criminals and is corrupt. I called over 500 people for Kerry in '04 and get hung up on did NOT discourage me from continuing to make more calls. Even if the article is long, at least the people reading it will know we didn't cherry pick out parts of it.

        I am typing my fingers to the bone for Harry, his little hippie River, us, and America.

        by Chamonix on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 09:15:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Scandals? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hannibal

    Scandals??  

    I don't need no more steenking scandals.

  •  This is an important story, (6+ / 0-)

    and one that taxpayers certainly can understand.

    Local tax dollars go directly to education for the children who live in the district.  Parents understand this.

    Play this one up big--will these people stop at nothing, even taking school lunch and books away from children?  OUr children?

    Good story.  We need to fight every single one of these liars.

    "Do your best, and keep your sense of humor."--My Mom

    by mainely49 on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:17:38 PM PDT

  •  If Americans don't have scandal-fatigue by now (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, tovan, Hannibal, Ellicatt

    it would be a miracle.

    They should start calling Dick Cheney the "Don" and charge them all under the RICO Act. That would save us a lot of time and money.

    Given a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, Americans will choose the real Republican every time - Harry Truman

    by tiggers thotful spot on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:20:04 PM PDT

  •  Block access to appraisals? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Benjaminwise, ca democrat

    These are public records like birth certificates.  This seems odd.

    Maybe there is a story about the coverup.

    It's full of stars...

    by ritzl on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:35:54 PM PDT

  •  A lot of smoke, but no fire. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LNK

    Conservative voters (who dominate CA-52) will not be troubled by the tax assessment. They'll be envious and wish they were lucky enough to have that kind of situation.

    When it comes to the RTC selling property at a loss, that is not unusual at all....the RTC often sells properties at a loss because it is liquidating assets.  

    The fact that Hunter voted to create the RTC is a red-herring.  The RTC was a $500 billion boondoggle created to bail out the FDIC and FSLIC. They had been looted in the Savings and Loan Scandals of the Reagan Administration.  Hunter's purchase of a small property from the RTC five years later is not significant at all.  After the Savings and Load scandals in the 1980s, you couldn't swing a cat without hitting an RTC property.

    Trying to blow this up into a scandal is just partisan politics.  It's good politics, but it's bad democracy.

    -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

    by xynz on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:39:31 PM PDT

    •  Cheating on Prop 13 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Benjaminwise, Hannibal

      Hunter's house (and guesthouse) should have been re-assessed.....

      Hunter is cheating on his taxes; no ifs, ands or buts about it.

      San Diego has been rocked by financial scandal after financial scandal--beyond Duke Cunningham.  The former Mayor is trouble, and city is basically bankrupt. The people in San Diego may not be all that happy with another tax cheat.

      At the very least, make Hunter defend his actions and actually defend his seat.

      •  the fact that he is not talking should tell you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Benjaminwise, Hannibal

        a lot

        How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

        by ca democrat on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:29:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What law did he break? (0+ / 0-)

        Hunter is cheating on his taxes; no ifs, ands or buts about it.

        Is Hunter legally obligated to inform the government that it has made a mistake in his tax assessment?

        If not, then this issue is not going to alienate the conservative anti-tax voters who comprise the majority of his district.

        -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

        by xynz on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 07:21:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Usually one has (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ca democrat

          to sign documents and send them into the County Assessor.  After one obtains a building permit here in California, a tax assessor conducts an inspection of the improvements.  At that time, the assessor asks questions about the improvements--which the homeowner is obligated to answer truthfully.

          So, it would be highly unlikley that the tax assessor would on his own make a mistake as to the square footage of the new building.

          The San Diego paper would not go after this if they didn't have good reason--it is not a Democratic paper.

  •  More than 20, less then 50 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hannibal

    I've been looking at all the poll numbers I can find, and running Monte Carlo studies of the election.  I am gradually getting more data, but a recent diary Taking back the house
    predicted a gain of 18 seats.  BUT that left out districts where I have no polling data, and included only 50 races considered competitive by the National Journal

    In reality, I think we will gain more than that.

    But 50 doesn't seem likely.

    Republicans believe government is the enemy. When they're in charge, they're right

    by plf515 on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:47:18 PM PDT

  •  Baloney (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Benjaminwise, Hannibal, ca democrat

    Knowing your congressman is gamimg the system to pay much lower taxes than you are means you and everyone else pays more. That's how roads, schools, parks and playgrounds are paid for, and also to support the public payroll. I don't know any property tax payer whom this won't piss off.

    Slow Thinkers-- Please Stay in the Right Lane

    by skywriter on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 04:49:14 PM PDT

  •  Just to clarify for everyone, (5+ / 0-)

    though I don't know the cost of real estate in the El Cajon area, southern California is costly now and was costly back in 1994.  In 1994, I sold a 2B/1B home with a small square of property in a decent, but not exceptional area of Los Angeles for $435,000.  That same house, if assessed today, would be valued at around $700 to $800k.  

    Even an outhouse on a 2.7 acre piece of property would cost more and assess for more than Hunter paid.

    If someone can give better, more local examples, please do.

    •  I was house shopping during that time (0+ / 0-)

      Though not in that exact neighborhood.

      The price sounds low for a 3,000 square foot house, but not horrendously low, and a lot obviously depends on the condition of the property. The big question is, exactly what did he buy? A 3,000 square foot house or a 6,000 square foot house. Since prop 13, the square footage is incidental with regards to property taxes. Its not incidental with regards to value, since the federal government was essentially the seller a few months before Hunter bought it.

      •  Re-assessment under Prop 13 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hannibal, goodasgold, ca democrat

        If the house was 6000 sq. ft when he bought it, the reassessment under Prop 13, triggered because of the sale, should have been based on that larger sq footage.

        If, on the other hand, he built a new house, or added a floor, the tax assessor still comes out--once you take out a building permit, the tax assessor follows.

        Doubling the size of one's house should trigger an increase in property taxes; land costs are not so high relative to the overall market value of land+improvements........

        •  Well, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hannibal, fhcec, ca democrat

          Actually, the sale price at the auction should be what governs--initially.....But it appears Hunter made substantial improvements

        •  Land costs are by far the biggest factor (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AmericanRiverCanyon

          That's why homes in San Diego county are now selling for $500K which other places wouldn't go for more than ~$100K.  The cost of improvements is very small compared to the (highly overpriced) land.  

          In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

          by Asak on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 11:08:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  one factor if you have beach front property (0+ / 0-)

            i would be supprised if this properties land value was higher than 25% of its total value

            remeber: constuction costs are high as well

            How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

            by ca democrat on Mon Oct 09, 2006 at 08:54:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Pony up, Benjamin. (7+ / 0-)

    I just gave $50.

    -4.25, -6.87: Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:05:22 PM PDT

  •  More Questions? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Benjaminwise, Hannibal, ca democrat

        Did Duncan Hunter buy the house from State Street Bank & Trust or was State Street B&F his mortgage bank. If Resolution Trust sold the home to State Street Bank and Trust and then it was resold to Duncan Hunter with both prices being $175,000, then I believe the fix was in and you/us need to look deeper. When Resolution Trust took possession of the home, what was the balance owed on the house? A house this large in CA must have been worth more than $175,000 especially with 2.7 acres. My guess is that the balance on the house/property before going into foreclosure was way higher and the public took the balance in the teeth because of the way Resolution Trust has a guarantee from the fed gov't so that it doesn't lose any money. Congress set this program up so that in down turn times the housing market declines would be softened by the taxpayer and those in the know could have valuable property for a song if they had an insider in Resolution Trust or if they simply had a an aide in Congress to consistently monitor the foreclosure list. Many people with $$ make huge annual figures for doing just this type of business. You may discover that there are people in Resolution Trust that shop these great deals to a client list and then are simply paid a finer's fee of $5,000-$10,000 for each tip that is finalized. This type of fees are often paid in the real estate market.
        I honestly believe the real crime is in the hit that the taxpayer took on the foreclosure loss that  covered the original loan. This would especially be juicy if you found that the average foreclosure loss coverages were 10-25% and this one was much higher. That would lead me to believe that the fix was in also.
        All this will take some time to investigate. I would suggest a contact with a true Blue real estate agent who often deals with foreclosures and he/she would know where to look for the leaks. Good Luck! I'll keep my eye on this race along with about 30 other sleezeballs that I'm tracking.

  •  er (0+ / 0-)

    2.7 acres is NOT a "huge piece of property" dude.  And it really isn't much of a scandal.  Probably 50% of taxpayers cheat on their taxes in some way.  


    Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. - TIME Magazine

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:11:21 PM PDT

    •  Depends on where you live (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dazy, Benjaminwise, wa ma

      In southern California, where this occured, it is a large piece of property. Even in the city where this occured, which is semirural, it's still a large piece of land. Land in one area isn't worth the same as it is in another.

      Everyone knows the Low Rider.

      by Hannibal on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:16:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oops (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hannibal

        I guess I'm just used to Vermont "huge pieces of property" which tend to be 100 acres or so.  I live on 9 acres, and around here it seems about average.


        Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. - TIME Magazine

        by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:24:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  land prices? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dazy, Benjaminwise

      Land prices in CA have to be 3-5 times as high as NC. Property in my neighborhood at the 2-3 acre size are currently valued at $150,000-$225,000 just for the land. I disagree. I'll wager you that this house is much more valuable even when you include his upgrades. Somebody greased a palm here.

      •  Varies A Lot (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Benjaminwise, atdnext

        Depending on where in California you are. Current median price of a home in Alpine is over $700,000. Of course, here's a home in Alpine selling for over $1 million.

        Everyone knows the Low Rider.

        by Hannibal on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:46:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I lived in Alpine until recently (4+ / 0-)

          Lived through the Cedar fire. Definitely voted against Hunter.

          Let there be no doubt that $175,000 for that much property in Alpine (burnt or unburnt) smells like a sweetheart deal. Not just for property tax evasion--but just period. You can't find an outhouse in Alpine for $175,000, much less acres of prime property.

          Did I mention how Alpine borders a beautiful National Forest and Indian reservations. How it is a growing "ex-urbs" area which is only a 20-30 minute drive into the heart of San Diego. Probably the best weather I've ever lived in. Wealthy retirees, doctor/lawyer commuters, and horse-lovers move up there and have rapidly been gentrifying the area. It is a very nice place to own property. And the prices reflect it.

          $175,000? That smells very, very fishy.

          Funny what a newspaper can find out once it does some basic investigation of public records. And for the (very conservstive) SD  newspaper to be publicly investigating Hunter probably means that he has either finally made too many enemies, or is so dirty that it can't be ignored anymore.

          Maybe some intrepid journalist can also look into what amount of public/recovery/forestry monies were spent within a radial mile of Hunter's property--as compared to the rest of the fire-damaged areas. That might be some very interesting info and make a very revealing map.

          --

          I recall, with disgust, that Duncan Hunter was quite proud of the delicious gourmet meals he claimed/lied that the prisoners received at Guantanamo Bay.

          If he is guilty, I hope he will soon become a personal expert on prison food. Maybe he and his buddy Duke "crybaby" Cunningham can get a show on Food TV. Let's call it "Felonious Food Friends".

          Yum.

  •  also, (0+ / 0-)

    how about some full disclosure.  Seems to me that you're working on Rinaldi's campaign, no?  If so, you should tell us that.


    Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. - TIME Magazine

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:14:34 PM PDT

  •  Ok... (7+ / 0-)

    I'm in the San Diego area, and while I'm not in the 52nd... (when do we get Issa his breaking scandal?) I'll pop for Rinaldi.

    $25.01, right now.

    "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

    by ogre on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:21:16 PM PDT

  •  my conclusions (0n what is here): TAX FRAUD (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Benjaminwise, LNK, Hannibal

    1) Property Taxes Wrong - likely added sq footage to his home and did not report it.
    2) Cheated on Utility Bills - Water/Sewer/Garbage bills based on square footage of home wrong if Sq Footage is wrong.
    3) Cheated on School Bond Taxes - If property tax base is wrong, the school bond taxes will be too low.
    4) Cheated on Park & Recreation District Taxes (if any) - If property tax base is wrong, the Park & Recreation District taxes will be too low.
    5) Cheated on Fire District Taxes (if any) - If property tax base is wrong, the Fire District taxes will be too low.
    6) Cheated on Special District Taxes (if any) - If property tax base is wrong, the Special District taxes will be too low.

    How much tax did he not pay?  If the additional square footage was added in 1997 (when he barrowed $250,000 against his equity), then about $3500+ a year in taxes was not paid for 10 years (increasing every year), plus penalties and interest.  Rough Estimate: Cheated on about $50,000 on his taxes. I think the voters will understand that.  Steal a piece of pizza, under three strikes, and you can go to jail for life in CA.  Steal a lot, and you get elected to Congress.  (My editorial comment).

    No proof here yet but the San Diego District Attorney, San Diego Grand Jury and CA Attorney General should all be asked, in writing,  to investigate, (this is a prominent elected official after all).

    Background from the tax records of San Diego County:
    XXXX VISTA VIEJAS RD
    ALPINE CA 91901
    Assessor Parcel Number
    402-160-17
    One Correction from posts above: He seem to have bought it from a lender, who bought I from the RTC for the same amount of money – so why would a lender (Sears Mortgage) in this case buy a property only to lose money 1 month later.  That is a very fast resale so the buyer had to be in the deal before the RTC sold (my analysis).
    Other details:
    Mr. Hunter has refinanced/barrowed against this property 5 times since 1994 (not uncommon) starting with $161,600 in debt and as of 7/5/2006 $650,000. If 6000 sq ft, the current value (at about $300+ a sq ft) would be nearly 2 million (not bad on a $15,000 initial investment).

    How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

    by ca democrat on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:22:07 PM PDT

  •  why defame duncan hunter? (0+ / 0-)

    there seems to be absolutely no proof that mr. hunter did anything wrong. perhaps there was something shady but there isnt a shred of PROOF at this point. in our system, proof is sometimes seen as important. tax assesments are made by the local government. the individual is not involved nor is he responsible for an under-assessment so long as he cooperated with the assessment. provided mr hunter cooperated with the assessment process (which means that he provided full access and an accurate report of the renovation costs) he is not guilty of any form of tax evasion or fraud.

    a few questions should be answered by mr hunter:

    1. was the property on the open market when purchased it? in other words, did he have an inside track on buying it? maybe he did, but there is no proof whatsoever.
    1. did he accurately report the cost of the renovations? again, maybe he hid the value but i see no proof at this point.
    1. did mr. hunter in any way collude or conspire to obtain an inaccurate assesment? again, some evidence would be nice.

    if the answer is yes to these three questions, this is just a bunch of silliness (defamatory silliness) which stands to distract us from the catastrophe in Iraq, the GOP leadership scandal, and the other scandalous lies of the bush administration.

    i'd love to see mr. hunter retired. maybe we can beat him with our ideas and principles.

    •  but he REFUSED to answer any (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dazy, Benjaminwise, Hannibal, Shakludanto

      questions about this from the reporter? He he won't put his side of the story out there (and you have to remember local media is very very conervative media) to his allies, then i think speculation is fair game. But you are also right, let's let the goverment officials responsible for our tax laws see if there is any fire to the smoke.

      How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

      by ca democrat on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:56:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that is a fair point (0+ / 0-)

        i'm surprised he refused to release the records, if that actually happened. i can also understand why he wouldnt want to respond (before the story ran) because playing defense only adds to the perception of wrongdoing. perhaps this is stupidity on his part, or perhaps there is something more, but i can see him waiting to see if the story goes anywhere before he gives it the credibility of a response. either way, he has some questions that he should answer but the comments on this diary are beyond ridiculous.

  •  More Iran/Contra/S&L Crimes (5+ / 0-)

    That Resolution Trust Corp was Bush Sr's way of laundering all the Savings & Loan ripoffs that stole $1.5 TRILLION (in 1980s dollars) from the US, when Bush Sr's Reagan puppet announced the FSLIC would pay back every dime of every S&L depositor ("rich people"), not just the $100K apiece they could legally expect. Among the crooks who stole from the S&L were Bush's CIA Iran/Contra gang, who financed their drugs/guns operation with it. Including arming the Iranians, including today's Ahmedinejiad, in the war with Iraq (in which Reagan/Bush was also arming Iraq).

    Driving all this home, Duncan Hunter's buddies like Randy Cunningham were all part of the San Diego operation that profited from these interlinked grand conspiracies.

    By all means do the research. And don't be surprised when following the money leads back to Iran, cocaine, guns, Bush, the CIA and the usual suspects.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 05:55:36 PM PDT

  •  Duncan Hunter's voting record? Rubber stamp? (5+ / 0-)

    Foley and Hastert enabler?

    I donated to Rinaldi and send wishes for good luck.

  •  my house has never been reassessed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ca democrat

    anywhere near it's actual value.  A quite common occurence (for better or worse) in CA I think.  

    But if it can turn a Repub district Democratic, then more power to the people there.

    I'm skeptical that San Diego conservatives will care much about somebody "not paying taxes."  It's their whole raison d'etre!

  •  I love Winter Solstice in October! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cognitive dissonance

    It's almost not fair to win like this, Oh I still expect us to only pick up 14 seats, but I want to be wrong!

  •  Its not that I don't wish this brewing scandal... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ca democrat

    ...could help - but keep in mind that San Diego politics is swayed by the military and a quite conservative base.  This scandal must be "accessible" in that people need to be able to get their arms around it.

    I hope this development is something that plays in SD - but honestly, I wish it could be a nice sex scandal...those go over so much better, if you know what I mean.

    "Equations are the devil's sentences." - Stephen Colbert

    by Rotobabe on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 06:57:31 PM PDT

  •  OK, just donated 20.00 (6+ / 0-)

    I hope he wins! Go Rinaldi.

    It is a great danger for everyone when what is shocking changes. ~Graham Greene

    by Liberaljentaps on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 06:59:05 PM PDT

  •  More HUNTER crap (7+ / 0-)

    He's "preying" upon land up here in Lois Capps' District (CA 23rd/Santa Barbara)...oh, pardon me...PREYED.

    From the Angry Poodle in the SB Independent

    Poor Lois. She never had a clue. By Lois, I mean Lois Capps, our Congressional representative in Washington, D.C. What Lois was clueless about is more precisely a “who” — in this case Duncan Hunter, the raging Congressional right-winger who represents the good people of El Cajon and others living east of San Diego, an inland empire where hot desert winds snuff out errant ocean breezes. In the most flagrant manner possible, Hunter violated every code of Congressional courtesy and political protocol, ripping off not only Lois Capps but the people of the 23rd Congressional District and Santa Barbara County. Abusing his considerable power as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Hunter just successfully hijacked control over Santa Rosa Island — which as part of the National Park System has belonged to the public for the past 20 years.

    Hunter’s dream is to turn our national park into a wide-open shooting range where wounded military veterans can heal their bodies and mend their souls by fragging the deer and elk still roaming the island’s craggy, windswept terrain. What sounded like a far-fetched idea when first introduced more than a year ago is now a done deal. Given that Santa Rosa Island is in Capps’s district, Lois had harbored hope that Hunter might actually consult with her. After all, he told her he would. But as anyone should have known, you can’t take Duncan Hunter at his word.

    ...In his first foray, Hunter simply tried to transfer ownership of the island to the Department of Defense so disabled veterans could enjoy some four-legged target practice. After that effort flopped, Hunter attached a few lines — a masterpiece of legislative vagueness — to the irresistibly huge military appropriations bill going through the committee, which he just happened to chair. To bolster his cause, Hunter trotted out the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), who wrote a letter on behalf of his scheme.

    Capps responded by inviting the PVA to tour the island, and after doing so, its representative — reportedly an accomplished wheelchair triathlete — concluded that Santa Rosa Island was way too steep and rocky for PVA members. Did that deter Hunter? The vets could shoot from the comfort of their vehicles, he countered. And he dredged up yet another vets organization to sanctify his mission — this time the Wounded Warriors of America. Capps has noted that nowhere in the measure does Hunter provide any “military appropriations” for the vets’ hunting sprees. She’s right. Big game hunting trips on Santa Rosa can cost as much as $17,000 a pop. But such arguments, when made by a Democrat in a Republican-controlled Congress, are beside the point. The real point is brute force.

    and from UCSB Daily Nexus

    After more than 18 months of debate, a provision allowing trophy hunting on Santa Rosa Island to continue indefinitely passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last Friday.

    The provision, which is a part of the 2007 Defense Authorization bill, passed 398 to 23 on Sept. 29. Congresswoman Lois Capps said the provision calls for the Secretary of the Interior to cease the plan to exterminate non-native deer and elk that, according to the National Park Service, are polluting the island’s water supply and killing endangered species.

    Capps said a 1997 court ruling ordered the current operators of the island’s yearly hunt to halt all hunting by 2011 and remove all the animals from the island because they were causing such damage.

    “This is a sad day for those of us who love and treasure Santa Rosa Island and all of our national parks,” Capps said. “It is simply outrageous that this deeply misguided proposal has been inappropriately included in the 2007 Defense Authorization in an act of pure Congressional hubris.”

    ...Capps said that this time, it was Hunter’s intent to turn the island into a private hunting ground for the military

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 07:45:49 PM PDT

    •  and anyone know exactly who (0+ / 0-)

      really is behind the Wounded Warrior Project?

      I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

      by jillian on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 07:51:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hunter really is AN ASSHOLE! (5+ / 0-)

      He screams about everything military, and tries to "out-patriot" everyone else... I hope that voters in the 52nd are finally sick of his psuedo-patriotic shit, and kick his ass back to the gutter (where it belongs)!

      http://atdnext.blogspot.com I'm keeping California blue... How about you? www.precinctcaptains.org

      by atdnext on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 07:58:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jillian, are you in Santa barbara County? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      atdnext

      And if so, are you going to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner featuring Wes Clark on October 27th.

      I am a Democrat and a combat veteran and damn proud of both.

      by OhioCav on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 07:59:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes...I plan to go to the JJ Din Din (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shademar

        I'm hoping to help out my friend, Ellen Nagler with set up, etc.

        I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

        by jillian on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 08:16:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am so excited to meet Gen. Clark again... (0+ / 0-)

        but one person I am excited to meet who will be visiting Santa Barbara this Tuesday, the father of Ehren Watada....

        Veterans For Peace present Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada who recently resigned his military commission because he “will not fight in an illegal war”. What would inspire a 28 year old career officer to give away his income and future for higher ideals? He refuses to participate in a war that he cannot justify or support legally and morally. Will this change the face of the war in Iraq? Tuesday October 10, 7 PM,  Parish Hall. Visit www.thankyoult.org for more information.

        I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

        by jillian on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 08:21:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You know what? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dazy, oceanview, Hannibal, ca democrat

    I don't think it matters whether the scandal is "deep enough" or not. It is unethical... run with it!  Every piece of the puzzle exposing the truth of those who love power for power's sake but despise its responsibilities... that is the key. The cumulative effect is what matters at this point. Keep up the good (and unfortunate) work!

    The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

    by vox humana on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 09:16:45 PM PDT

  •  I know zilch about this, but . . . (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dazy, atdnext, fairleft, ca democrat

    I think whoever said earlier that the newspaper wouldn't run this unless there's something else here is probably right. I wouldn't dismiss the story.

    Is the conclusion that he didn't file for any building permits to remodel?

    The property was reassessed at the time he bought it at just about $250,000. Since then, based on the graphic in the article, the assessed value has increased at almost exactly 2% per year. There are no blips to indicate any improvements were made.

    I found only 1 permit issued for this property (sorry if this has already been mentioned) for a "deck to existing mobile" on January 9, 2002. The value was $0. I seriously doubt that's an exhaustive search. Just what happened to turn up.

  •  OK, I'm in (4+ / 0-)

    I ordinarly give through Act Blue via FiredogLake, but your subject line made this someting I had to read.  I can't stand Duncan Hunter and so I kicked in 25.01 plus a tip to Act Blue (I think the tip was $2.50).  IMHO Act Blue is providing a valuable service and like a waiter in a restraunt--deserves to be tipped whatever folks can spare.  NO--I usually tip 15% in a restraunt--but I want that 5% to stretch to those I give to.

    Now, in terms of your promises:  If you only kick in a dollar for my entire 25.00--I'm still happy.  By getting so far on the Recommend List, I think you will need a loan!  But thanks for the link--I didn't know he was backed by unions (like mine).  So far this year, I've gotten to donate to Victoria Wasdin, Dave Mejias and quite a few others--based on what Repug they were opposed to and what Blog gave me the link.  Thanks for the service you provided!!!

    So, you got one portion of my overtime check--which is going to be good this weekend.  I've gotten the ok from my better half to spend my ot this way. My manager at work knows what I'm up to and his attitude is "I've got to get you more ot!  

    SO MANY WORTHWHILE REPUGS TO OPPOSE, so little time and money!

    Dedicated to removing Wingnuts like Bush, Santorum and Lieberman from power.

    by Russron on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 10:41:53 PM PDT

  •  People really, really resent tax corruption (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oceanview, ca democrat

    If this thing is pushed as "Duncan Hunter cheated on his taxes in a way that would get an ordinary citizen audited and harshly fined. He cheated on his taxes even while he voted on the largest deficit budgets in our history, which your great grand children will be paying taxes on. He abuses his office, we pick up the bill."

  •  15 minutes left (4+ / 0-)

    I'm in for $10. Not much, but you're stuck paying another $10.

    Sorry and all that.   ;-)

    This IS big enough.

    Depriving the children of ordinary Americans of schools? Depriving seniors of decent roads in case they have an emergency?

    Cheating so OTHERS have their property values increase?

    You just didn't notice the extra 3,000 square feet, or the little 2,000 foot house? Yeahhhhh.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 11:44:17 PM PDT

  •  another 10.01 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Benjaminwise, oceanview, ca democrat

    Because I love to see the netroots in action, and I'd love to see California turn as blue as I know she should be. (Out here in Barbara Lee territory it's easy to forget that the some parts of the state are a vastly different political universe...)

  •  Let me get this straight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Bailey, dnn

    Someone bought this house and probably as a result of the housing bubble bursting in the late 80's early 90's, lost it.

    House went into foreclosure in 93 and the lender took title or would have if it still existed.  Instead the Resolution Trust Corp, a group which Duncan Hunter voted for 4 years earlier to bail out S&L's, took it over.

    This trust corp then turned around and sold off all the assets which as a result of the S&L bailout it now owned, including the subject house.

    State Street Bank & Trust bought it in 94 for $175,000 and then sold it later that year for the same price to Duncan Hunter.

    Duncan Hunter then poured an additional $160,000 into repairing and likely adding to the house.  The tax rolls listed the property as a two-bedroom, 2½-bath house with 2,946 square feet of living space when in actuality it was twice the size and had a guest house swimming pool and tennis court.  

    Now as you state "a county assessor visited the six-bedroom house soon after Hunter bought it and took pictures" according to the congressman, but "the home's description wasn't corrected in the property file. The house was reappraised at $249,000 - above the sale price but below its market value."

    ------------------

    Here are my questions as someone who has worked for various assessors and has been in the field for a while.

    First - I find it hard to believe that if supposing there was only a 2946 sq.ft. house on the property in bad shape when Hunter bought it that a few months after Hunter buying it there would be a brand new house on the property.  A house of that size in addition to a 2000 sq ft guest house, in addition to a tennis court AND a swimming pool would take about a year to complete, maybe more.  

    It is very possible that when the assessor went there the original house was still in it's original condition and that Hunter was still in the process of obtaining approval and or drawing up plans for his new house.  In that case he would only be assessing what was currently there which would have been the original house in it's bad shape.

    You HAVE to be very clear about this.  If this is the case then you have none.

    Second - As I have already stated, it would likely take about a year to build a 6000 sq. ft. house with all the other amenities from the initial concept stages to completion.  During that time it is the assessor's responsibility to go out there and stay updated on progress.  Laws might differ from state to state, but here in CT assessors tax based on level of completion.  So for example if the new house upon completion is worth $500,000 market value or $350,000 assessed value and it's only 35% complete, then the homeowner only gets taxed on 35% of $350,000 or $122,500.  

    The assessor has to be on top of it.  Some do, others wait (for various reasons including understaffing) til it's done then tax the completed house so the homeowner technically gets a break for a year.  I've seen instances where the house has been complete for years and the property is still being assessed on the old house.  This is not the homeowner's fault and he is under no obligation to pay 'backtaxes' since it was basically the assessor's responsibility.

    Third - you mentioned the house was 'reappraised at $249,000"  You have to be clear about this.  Was the house reappraised at $249,000 or REASSESSED at $249,000?  In CT the assessed value is 70% of appraised or market value.  If you're talking about ASSESSED value then the market value is in actuality $355,700 (based off 70%).

    You have to be certain about this point.

    Fourth - When you talk about appraised value for the purposes of taxes and market value there is something else you need to be clear about.  Why did the assessor go there at that particular time?  Was it a scheduled revaluation of all properties, or did he specifically go there?  This difference might be important.  If it was part of a revaluation be aware that by the time the reval is complete, the 'appraised' value might be below market value by as little as 3-5% to as much as 10% (depending on market conditions).

    This is because it takes up to a year (maybe more) to complete a reval and depending on when the house was visited that value could be behind by up to a year.  In a normal market a year might mean 3-5% in a hot market as we have seen it will be more.  In 94 the market wasn't all that great so it might be closer to 3-5%.

    HOWEVER, if the assessor was there specifically, you should know why.  It is likely that he went out there as a result of a permit for construction being pulled which takes you back to my prior points.

    Fifth - Based on what I've read from you what Duncan Hunter did was by no means illegal.  Shady?  Maybe.  It is likely that as a result of some connections he was tipped off to a good real estate deal and he took advantage of it.  This happens all the time.  He's probably lying about not knowing the gov't owned it since a title search would have to have been done which would have revealed the prior ownership. However, lying about this isn't a crime either.

    Here's what I'd focus on if I were you............

    First - Look into why the bank sold the property at what it bought it for.  I find it difficult to believe that a bank would buy a house, carry it for 10 months and then flip it without any gain.  Was the bank in trouble and had to shed some assets?  Was the market that soft that nothing was moving and it got rid of it so it wouldn't lose more money on it?  If so, move on there's nothing here unless you can prove Hunter had direct connections which allowed him to get a good deal.  You could then possibly use this to show he had some insider knowledge which allowed him to get a good deal.  I tend to think there isn't much here that will be particularly damaging.  

    Second and most important - Look into building permits.  Chances are they might not go that far back but if they do it will spell it out for you what was done and when.  Also check with the planning and zoning board or a similar type board in charge of approvals.  

    Once you do that, get a timeline together and compare it to the assessment history.  Typically you should see a visit history as well as part of the assessment history (you might have to check with older assessor files).  The two should be related.  As the property was improved you should see an increase in value.  

    If there isn't a direct correlation, then you should ask why.  Was it because the assessor didn't visit the property?  If this is the case they as I said before you have none.  It's not Hunter's responsibility to note errors, it's the assessors.  Most homeowners are unaware about the process and/or what's on file at the town hall.  Others don't bother because it benefits them.  This isn't a crime.

    If you do see that there is a discrepancy in the timeline above, dig into the assessor.  Is there any relationship between Hunter and that assessor?  Any campaign contributions?  If so you might have a case.  At this point you can make an issue of it.  Even if the assessor was simply negligent in his duties it is possible to make it look like Hunter got a 'break' and as a result was able to 'cheat on his taxes'.  

    I've seen cases where discrepancies were made which were so obvious and blatant that it could only be a result of corruption.  In one particular town it was so bad the assessor was thrown in jail.

    However, I've also seen cases where ther discrepancies were simply a result of incompetence or negligence.  If this is the case it's not Hunter's fault and you'll have a hard time making him out to be a cheat.

    Your best bet with this story is to dig deeper and look into the assessor and assessment history compared to building history, if you notice something there then you might have something you can run with.  Problem is time is running out and this requires some time and research. You have to do it and fast.  Then if it looks shady enough (Republican assessor, close ties to Hunter, contributions, house underassessed for years, etc.)you have to get it out there and hammer him hard on it.

    I hate to say it but other than maybe that, there really isn't much here.  I hate Duncan Hunter as much as any other republican but there are alot of 'ifs' at this point which need to be answered before you can make a big deal out of it.  If you don't have all the facts before you on this, you might look like a fool in your zeal to get Duncan Hunter.  

    In addition, unless you have more instances of corruption not directly related to this, it will be difficult to paint Hunter as corrupt.  Alone, this isn't enough.  Not many people care (unfortunately) about someone underpaying on their property taxes.

    However, if you can show a pattern as they're doing in Virginia with Allen and his blatant racism, then you could use this to add to the theme that Hunter is corrupt.

    Either way, hope this helps, good luck with this and good luck to John.  

    SAY NO 2 JOE. VOTE 4 NED INSTEAD!!! -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Oct 09, 2006 at 02:29:08 AM PDT

  •  This is NOT a scandal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunsquared

    It is no different than Whitewater. It is a simple real estate deal, of which turned out to be a good deal for the buyer.

    It seems incredibly partisan to begrudge the representative for obtaining a good, legitimate deal.

    Benjaminwise--you are not so clever. Your partisanship is clear and your ignorance is illuminating.

    The writer of the piece proudly proclaims "Wait, did I read that right?

    So Duncan Hunter bought a huge piece of property from the federal government at below market price... and then hid the true value from local government so as to avoid thousands of dollars in property taxes (which otherwise would have gone to schools, hospitals, etc.)??"

    Sorry, you are mistaken. In the first place he did not buy it directly froom the federal government but from a holding company. Besides, what difference does it make who the seller is??

    A "huge" piece of property?? 2.7 acres is not a huge piece of property. The writer obviously lives in a shoebox on a postage stamp. The writer sounds like one of those spread-the-wealth types that is po'd for not having the kahunas to find a good deal,  but would rather rain on the parade of  prescience and wisdom of obtaining a deal in real estate.

    Secondly, the writer obviously knows nothing of real estate transactions. For it is the title company that prepares the docs, including the conveyance forms (which by the way are approved by the auditor), the conveyance form of which is prepared by the title company/attorney and it includes the price of the transaction. The property taxes may or may not be determined from this conveyance document.

    The conveyance form "conveys" that which is before them--a real estate purchase. Period. If there is more or less square footage on the actual land than is of record at the time the closing than the auditor has every right to reappraise. And guess what--most counties do so every three years (more or less). The 'audit' will pick up any discrepencies. It is the auditors job for correcting county records.

    Benjaminwise apparently feels it is the "duty" of each homeowner to volunteer to pay more than the auditors invoice. Bennywise should mind his own business and let the county assess as they do. He unfairly targets the homeowner for having failed to call the taxman and volunteer to up his property tax.  

    It is equally disingenous for the writer to say the property owner is depriving the hospitals and schools of their fair take. If he is worried about the schools and hospitals then his anger should be directed at the county auditor. Get over it.

    It is why the position is called "auditor". If real estate never changed in size, shape, zoning then an audit would never be necessary. It is not the homeowners job to audit property, it is the county. If they fail to show the proper square footage of a home it is not a crime. If any homeowner has a guilty conscience and is up at night worrying about the tax man going broke than do your own audit and pay your life savings if you choose.  

    So the insurance company has paid a claim on more of the house than the county records show. Bear in mind the insurance company has much more at stake than the auditor. Prior to issuing a policy the insurance company will send an agent to measure and inspect the property. It is not incumbent on the insurer to report the findings to the county. If there is an illegal act of not informing the county of any changes then the insurance companies would be involved in a 'huge' conspiracy to defraud the government.

    The more important issue here is the governemt seizure of property in the first place. Citizens should be outraged that RTC was in the mix in the first place. RTC was the largest government ripoff of property owners in the history of the Republic (other than the seizure of land from the indigenous people). With the enactment of RTC the legal and legitimate ownership of real estate was seized.

    Sure there was some fraud in the S&L scandal, perhaps plenty to go around. Yet, there were many, thousands of legitimate owners of property who got caught up in the wide net of RTC seizures. There are many usettled lawsuits today filed on behalf of legitimate business and property owners who unfairly lost everything.  They lost because RTC took it all and didn't bother sorting the wheat from the chaff. Many business owners lost their life savings due to the fiasco.

  •  Hunter / DeLay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Benjaminwise, lgmcp

    Duncan Hunter also donated $6,000 to Tom DeLay's Legal Defense Fund.  Did he get a kickback?

  •  chiming in late (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Benjaminwise, ca democrat

    Didn't notice this thread last night - my laptop was giving me fits.

    John Rinaldi is a top-notch candidate running against a money-grubbing lowlife bastard.  He's on my ActBlue page at:

    http://www.actblue.com/...

    and in honor of the ruckus you've raised here, I'll put another $20.01 in, myself.

    I really like Rinaldi's issues statement. If there's anybody here who hasn't taken a minute to look over his 20-point platform, you should do it.

    http://rinaldiforcongress.org/

    Go on over and read it. It will remind you of what we're fighting for.

  •  Any more takers? (0+ / 0-)

    You all have been awesome!!!

  •  Here is the deed and transfer information (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Benjaminwise

    This is is real story. Keep working on it. For the record:

    Mortgage Record
    Recording Date 07/05/2006 Document # 2006-0474570  
    Loan Amount:  $650,000  Loan Type Unknown
    TD Due Date 07/01/2036  Type of Financing  
    Lender Name  NORTH ISLAND FINANCIAL CU
    Lender Type Credit Union
    Borrowers Name HUNTER,DUNCAN; HUNTER,HELYNN
    Vesting Joint Tenancy

    Mortgage Record
    Recording Date 09/02/2003 Document # 2003-1064444  
    Loan Amount:  $458,200  Loan Type Unknown
    TD Due Date 09/01/2033  Type of Financing  
    Lender Name  NORTH ISLAND FINANCIAL CU
    Lender Type Credit Union
    Borrowers Name HUNTER,DUNCAN; HUNTER,HELYNN
    Vesting Joint Tenancy

    Mortgage Record
    Recording Date 02/15/2002 Document # 2002-0132958  
    Loan Amount:  $70,000  Loan Type Credit Line (Revolving)
    TD Due Date  Type of Financing Variable  
    Lender Name  NORTH ISLAND FINANCIAL CREDIT UNION
    Lender Type Credit Union
    Borrowers Name HUNTER,DUNCAN; HUNTER,HELYNN
    Vesting Joint Tenancy

    Mortgage Record
    Recording Date 12/02/1997 Document # 1997-0608248  
    Loan Amount:  $416,000  Loan Type Unknown
    TD Due Date 01/01/2005  Type of Financing  
    Lender Name  NORTH ISLAND FCU
    Lender Type Credit Union
    Borrowers Name HUNTER,DUNCAN; HUNTER,HELYNN
    Vesting Joint Tenancy

    Prior Transfer  
    Recording Date 05/09/1994 Document # 1994-0304931  
    Price  $175,000  Document Type Grant Deed
    First TD $161,600  Type of Sale Full-Computed from Transfer Tax  
    Lender Name VALLE DE ORO BANK NA
    Buyer Name HUNTER, DUNCAN; HUNTER, HELYNN
    Buyer Vesting Joint Tenancy
    Seller Name STATE STREET BANK & TRUST COMPANY,
    Legal Description  
    :PORTION SE4 SE4 SEC16 TWP15S RNG02E SBBM  
    City/Muni/Twp: ALPINE  

    Prior Transfer  
    Recording Date 02/02/1994 Document # 1994-0076834  
    Price  $175,000  Document Type Trustee's Deed
    First TD N/A  Type of Sale Full Amount on Deed  
    Lender Name  
    Buyer Name STATE STREET BANK & TRUST COMPANY, ; SEARS MTG CORP,  
    Buyer Vesting  
    Seller Name PROFESSIONAL FORECLOSURE CORP,
    Legal Description  
    Sec/Twnship/Range: SE4 SE4 S16T15SR02E SBBM  
    City/Muni/Twp: ALPINE  

    Prior Transfer  
    Recording Date 01/04/1994 Document # 1994-0005634  
    Price  $175,000  Document Type Trustee's Deed
    First TD N/A  Type of Sale Full Amount on Deed  
    Lender Name  
    Buyer Name RESOLUTION TRUST CORP,
    Buyer Vesting  
    Seller Name PROFESSIONAL FORECLOSURE CORP,
    Legal Description  
    :PORTION SE4 SE4 SEC16 TWP15S RNG02E SBBM  
    City/Muni/Twp: ALPINE  

    How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

    by ca democrat on Tue Oct 10, 2006 at 09:50:20 AM PDT

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