Friday, June 17, 2005
Dirty Duke: Today's Union-Tribune has some follow-up reporting on Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham that should've been in its first report -- and evidence continues to grow that Cunningham is on the take.
A broad list of home sales during the approximate period of the sale and in the approximate geographic area ranges between $700,000 and $1.7 million.
However, several San Diego Realtors and appraisers who reviewed the Multiple Listing Service records during the period said the comps, which include pictures of the interior and exterior of the homes, show that the house was worth less than $1 million when Wade paid Cunningham $1,675,000.
"There is no logical explanation of comps that could have supported a value of $1,675,000 in November 2003," San Diego real estate appraiser Todd Lackner said after reviewing the records. "There was only one house sale that sold in this price range for $1,665,000 on June 11, 2003. This was an incredibly superior property. The true comps in November 2003 would have been closer to the lower $900,000 range."
After reviewing the comps, Realtor Jacque Baker of Prudential Cal Realty put the value of Cunningham's Del Mar home in November 2003 at "less than $1 million," citing two properties of roughly the same size that sold for about that price even though they had upgrades – and, in one case, panoramic ocean views – which Cunningham's house did not.
The Union-Tribune also reports that the woman who provided the comps list -- Elizabeth Todd -- had never done a real estate transaction at the time she produced that list. Her first paying gig as a realtor was on the $2.55 million house that Cunnningham bought with the proceeds from the "questionable" sale.
I'm not sure whether this makes Ms. Todd a very talented Realtor or a an ethically-challenged Realtor. However, 3 percent of a $2.55 million house sale does go to prove that -- I'm in the wrong business.
Republicans should start seriously thinking of running someone against Cunningham in the primary coming up next year.