CORPORATE TAX CHEATS LOSE THAT PROPERTY OWNERSHIP.
Reclaiming all that real estate tied to REIT these several decades is EASY PEASY----coming back to local government coffers as general tax revenue----
WE HAVE PLENTY OF REVENUE RESOURCES IN OUR US CITIES IF WE GET RID OF GLOBAL WALL STREET 5% TO THE 1% POLS AND PLAYER ROBBER BARONS PUSHING FRAUD.
No one does REIT fraud better than Goldman Sachs----Goldman is behind SOVEREIGN DEBT FRAUD from US to Europe-----below we see the US TREASURY FRAUDS we have shouted for a decade----$13 trillion in US Treasury bond fraud debt ==========and the KRACKEN OF CRIMINAL BANKING----GOLDMAN SACHS is top yet again.
The US Treasury, state, and local municipal bond fraud is tied to lots and lots and lots of real estate in our CITY CENTERS------especially in Baltimore.
“It’s a major coup to have a bank as strong as Goldman Sachs investing in Baltimore,” said Karyl Leggio, a professor of finance at Loyola University Maryland. “It’s an affirmation for the work being done to revitalize Baltimore.”
Goldman Sachs represents the “gold standard” of investment bank involvement in deals, she said'.
'MPG, the largest commercial landlord in downtown Los Angeles, has a debt ratio among the highest of any publicly traded office real-estate investment trust (REIT) in the U.S'.
'Goldman Sachs accused of fraud by US regulator SEC
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Friday, 16 April 2010
Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse, has been accused of defrauding investors by America's financial regulator'.
This was the US Treasury bond fraud Obama and Clinton neo-liberals allowed to occur these several years and it takes our state and municipal bond debt as well. ALL THOSE BOND DEALS ARE VOID BECAUSE THEY WERE ILLEGAL. Our Baltimore Public School rebuilding bonds are exactly that.
Goldman Sachs probed in alleged Treasury rigging
By Kevin Dugan
March 20, 2016 | 11:00pm
Investigators in the fraud division of the Justice Department have obtained information from Goldman Sachs that appears to implicate the company in manipulating the price of Treasury bonds, according to two sources. Reuters
Washington’s probe into the alleged rigging of the $13 trillion US Treasurys market by Wall Street banks has narrowed its focus to a handful of firms — including Goldman Sachs, The Post has learned.
In addition, European authorities have opened their own investigation into possible Treasurys bid-rigging, sources said.
Investigators in the fraud division of the Justice Department have obtained chats and emails from Goldman that appear to implicate the company in manipulating the price of Treasury bonds, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.
Those chats and emails are being analyzed to determine if traders at other banks could be involved with any possible bid-rigging of US government debt, those two people said.
The identities of any traders in investigators’ cross hairs couldn’t be learned.
Goldman is said to be cooperating with the probe, one person said.
In June, The Post reported exclusively that Justice was in the early stages of investigating banks for rigging the price of Treasurys, the largest and most easily tradeable asset in the world.
Goldman is one of about 22 financial institutions that have been probed for any evidence that they may have manipulated Treasury auctions — a secretive process where banks and other financial services companies bid on the price of government debt, sources said.
Justice is also looking into whether there was price-rigging in the secondary market for Treasurys, where debt is sold at a premium, sources added. It’s unclear if investigators have yet found any improprieties or criminality.
Goldman, run by Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, is a major player in US government bond trading, and regularly submits bids for auctions.
In November, Goldman disclosed in a regulatory document that it was being probed for possible manipulation of government bond prices. Michael DuVally, a Goldman spokesman, declined to comment further.
Meanwhile, the European Commission, the law enforcement arm of the European Union, has opened its own investigation, joining Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the New York Department of Financial Services, according to two sources.
The rigging investigation is the biggest scandal to hit the quiet but crucial Treasurys market since 1990 when Paul Mozer, a former Salomon Brothers partner, illegally cornered the government debt market. Mozer’s actions are known to readers of Michael Lewis’ “Liar’s Poker.”
Traders are thought to have rigged the market in two possible ways: by agreeing beforehand to keep bond prices higher than normal in order to boost profits in other positions that depend on higher rates, similar to how banks rigged the London-based Libor rate.
Banks also could have colluded to keep prices lower than normal to sell them at a higher price — and score a bigger spread — to their clients, who agreed to pay a fixed amount beforehand.
A Justice Department spokesman didn’t return an email seeking comment, while EC spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment.
Here we see our MARYLAND GOV HOGAN---that Bush far-right wing neo-con MOVING FORWARD just as our Baltimore Mayor PUGH that far-right wing global Wall Street Clinton neo-liberal MOVING FORWARD-----
FAKE ALT RIGHT MEETS FAKE ALT LEFT IN HOGAN AND PUGH.
Hogan thinks it great that a global corporation known worldwide for massive frauds and bringing nations down with sovereign bond debt is a great match for Baltimore. We even have our FAKE 5% RELIGIOUS leaders touting how great GOLDMAN SACHS is-----that OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% CATHOLIC FREEMASON LOYOLA----supporting that DARK AGES GLOBAL 1% JEWISH MERCHANT Goldman Sachs.
FORGET US RULE OF LAW----FORGET MORALS AND ETHICS---FORGET GOD'S NATURAL LAWS------LOYOLA, HOGAN, AND PUGH SAY-------SHOW ME THE MONEY!
So, Baltimore City Council and mayor will tell 99% WE THE PEOPLE all this is great development opportunity even as Goldman owes Baltimore billions of dollars in global Wall Street frauds over these few decades. Well, they are investing back to city development say those 5% players-----
KNOW WHAT? WHAT IS BEING DEVELOPED IN MOVING FORWARD US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES AS IN BALTIMORE IS NOTHING 99% OF CITIZENS BLACK, WHITE, OR BROWN WILL WANT---THIS IS ONLY FOR GLOBAL 1%.
REAL left social progressives were shouting at HOUSTON/NEW ORLEANS/MIAMI development which mirrors this back in 1990s-----here we are in 2010s shouting the same thing as 99% of citizens shake their fists against Trump for allowing HOUSTON to be flooded.
Goldman Sachs invests $233 million in Port Covington
Lorraine MirabellaContact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun Sept 13, 2017
Goldman Sachs plans to invest $233 million to join Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s development firm in remaking Port Covington, becoming a joint owner of hundreds of acres along the Patapsco River slated to become a $5.5 billion mix of offices, housing, shops and restaurants.
The global investment banking company will join Plank’s Sagamore Development Co. in a joint venture that will own and develop a 235-acre waterfront parcel south of Interstate 95, Sagamore announced Wednesday. The site is next to 50 acres on which Baltimore-based Under Armour is building a new world headquarters.
Sagamore has secured $660 million in public financing for the project — the largest of its kind in city history — and has begun work to transform the once-industrial peninsula. The developers had said they were working to attract an equity investor to accelerate plans.
Marc Weller, co-founder and president of Sagamore, will continue to lead the team planning and carrying out the development, the partners said. Goldman Sachs does not have offices in Baltimore.
“As their joint venture equity partner, we will be involved only with major decisions,” Goldman Sachs spokesman Andrew Williams said. The “Sagamore team is the developer and will manage all aspects of the project.”
City officials and independent analysts said they view the new investment as a significant step in pushing the project forward and casting Baltimore in a favorable light.
“It’s a major coup to have a bank as strong as Goldman Sachs investing in Baltimore,” said Karyl Leggio, a professor of finance at Loyola University Maryland. “It’s an affirmation for the work being done to revitalize Baltimore.”
Goldman Sachs represents the “gold standard” of investment bank involvement in deals, she said. And helping to revitalize the city could have more than financial benefits for the bank — it could pay off in positive community relations and the possibility of new clients, especially among millennials who tend to value companies that emphasize corporate social responsibility.
William Cole IV, president of the Baltimore Development Corp., said the partnership with Goldman Sachs “is a very good sign that the project is getting ready to gear up.”
“This is obviously a huge commitment by a national investor following in a line of a couple of pretty big investments in Baltimore from national investors,” he said. “It’s an indication that people are taking a long, hard look at Baltimore.”
CBRE Global Investors bought a 56 percent stake in the Legg Mason tower in Harbor East in March in a deal that valued the property at nearly $300 million. Two years ago, a group affiliated with J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc. in New York paid $121.5 million for the Union Wharf apartments in Fells Point.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh called the Goldman Sachs investment “significant progress” for the Port Covington project and for the city’s economic development efforts.
“I don’t know if you can imagine my excitement with this $233 million in Port Covington right at the time when we’re trying to attract Amazon and other major companies to Baltimore,” Pugh said.
Gov. Larry Hogan spoke to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein Wednesday about the city’s growth potential and the opportunity Port Covington represents for the state and outside investors, a spokesman for the governor said.
“Dynamic projects like Port Covington have the ability to attract this kind of game-changing private investment,” Hogan said in a statement.
Goldman Sachs said its financial commitment is the largest single private equity investment its urban investment group has made. The group has invested more than $5 billion since 2001 in underserved communities in New York, Detroit, New Orleans, Newark, N.J., Camden, N.J., Memphis, Tenn., and other cities. Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg Philanthropies recently made a $10 million commitment to 10,000 Small Businesses in Baltimore.
Tom Geddes, CEO of Plank Industries, said Plank Industries and Goldman Sachs share a common vision for urban economic growth, job creation and local workforce development in the city. Geddes said Sagamore hired a third-party broker to find a partner and was attracted by Goldman Sachs’ community-based “impact investing” around the country.
“This … today represents a major step forward in the Port Covington development,” he said.
Margaret Anadu, managing director of Goldman Sachs’ urban investment group, said the firm views Port Covington as a chance to invest and make a positive impact on the community.
“Our investment vehicle is not solely about financial returns,” she said. “We saw an opportunity to invest in infrastructure and lay the foundation for millions of square feet and dozens of buildings … but benefit Baltimore residents and … set a model around the country for what urban investment can look like to connect people and create jobs.”
Sagamore and Goldman Sachs plan to start work on infrastructure in 12 to 18 months, most of it streets, parks and utilities to prepare for future residential and commercial development.
The community benefits agreements that Sagamore negotiated with city officials and neighborhoods near Port Covington will remain in place under the joint venture. The agreements cover local hiring, workforce development, supplier diversity, affordable housing and funding for education programs, college scholarships, recreation facilities and summer jobs for youth.
Michael Middleton,chairman of the
South Baltimore Seven — the group of local neighborhoods around the project — applauded the new investment. The Cherry Hill man said developers have stayed in contact with residents in the group’s communities of Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Curtis Bay, Lakeland, Mt. Winans, Westport and Port Covington.“Their genuine commitment to the future of our communities is above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen from a development team,” Middleton said.
The joint venture will not include the parcel south of Cromwell street owned by Under Armour, where the brand has converted a former Sam’s Club store into “Building 37” offices for more than 500 employees. The Sagamore-Goldman team will not redevelop parcels occupied by Nick’s Fish House, Sagamore Spirit Distillery, Rye Street Tavern and City Garage, home of an Under Armour design and manufacturing center, a co-working space and a maker space.
The City Council approved public financing for Port Covington last September after months of controversy. Supporters spoke of the potential job creation and the value of retaining the $4.8 billion Under Armour. Critics called it corporate welfare. Former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signed legislation authorizing five rounds of bond issues over the next 40 years. Sagamore expects to make a request for a bond issue by the third quarter of next year.
Cole said the investment will have implications for Baltimore beyond the project itself, which city officials view as key to generating jobs and retaining Under Armour as it grows. The project, including the Under Armour campus, could grow to 18 million square feet over more than two decades.
The land includes The Baltimore Sun’s printing plant, which was sold to Sagamore in 2014 by Chicago-based Tribune Media. Tribune Media spun off its newspapers, including The Sun, earlier that year but kept their properties. The Sun has a long-term lease on the building.
Cole said Goldman Sachs’ investment “speaks volumes for what everyone sees as the tremendous potential at Port Covington.”
“When you take a look at the overall plans for Port Covington that Sagamore has put together, including their community outreach and stated goals of making sure there are ample opportunities for Baltimore residents to be employed, I think that’s very attractive to investors,” he said.
Here is Obama's Treasury Secretary LEW after GEITHNER pretending all these DOJ investigations are just so embarrassing wanting a quick closure. This is the same position taken in Bush era 2008 as that massive global Wall Street fraud came to light. We spent last decade documenting how early we knew this US Treasury fraud was occurring so all would see this was DELIBERATE, WILLFUL, AND DONE WITH MALICE while our 5% CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA pols and players pushed all these frauds.
So, NOW 99% of citizens in Baltimore are supposed to watch as the very tool to sovereign debt fraud is embraced by Greater Baltimore, Baltimore Development arms of global Johns Hopkins brings more global Wall Street development connections.
ALL REAL ESTATE TIED TO THESE FRAUDS ARE VOID------WE THE PEOPLE THE 99% CAN TAKE THESE PROPERTIES BACK BECAUSE ALL INVOLVED ARE TIED TO FRAUD--- NO NEED OF JUSTICE CONVICTIONS.
This is what GOLDMAN SACHS did to GREECE and SPAIN when in 2008 they were brought down with sovereign debt fraud----and these debts will bring the US and our US cities down as well.
DOJ Probing Goldman For Rigging Treasury Auctions
by Tyler Durden
May 3, 2017 1:25 PM ZERO HEDGE
While we doubt anything material will emerge for various obvious reasons, the NY Post reports that the DOJ is probing Goldman Sachs for alleged Treasury auction rigging:
the charge is that Goldman, one of the 23 US primary dealers, won almost all Treasury bond auctions from 2007 to about 2011 even after the Treasury department established safeguards to maintain competitiveness. The case is said to center on chats and emails showing Goldman traders sharing price information with traders at other banks:
Chats and emails believed to show Goldman traders sharing sensitive price information with traders at other banks are at the center of the case, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
“They didn’t lose many bids,” one person who has seen the bid data told The Post. The prices Goldman offered for Treasury bonds “would be very close” but just above offers from other banks, and typically arrived “at the end of the auction.”
While not the first time we have had news of a DOJ probe into Treasury market rigging - the Post itself reported last March virtually the same story, namely that "Goldman Sachs probed in alleged Treasury rigging", and prior that in June of 2015 - the details are new, and suggest that collusion between the banks reaches far beyond merely FX. Also notable is the deference to Goldman by other banks, raising questions what was the quid pro quo. The timing is also notable, coming at a time when at least half a dozen Goldman Sachs alumni are in high levels of the executive branch. Which is perhaps why Goldman feels compelled to clarify that "No one has accused any bank, or Mnuchin or Cohn, of any wrongdoing."
Some more details:
The investigation is currently focusing on Goldman’s interactions with the bedrock of the US financial system: the Treasury’s auctions for debt in the form of bonds and notes.
Those bonds, which are sold in about 300 auctions a year, not only finance the government’s operations, but also help set rates for everything from home mortgages to credit cards.
Goldman is one of 23 primary dealers that bids directly with the government and then distributes Treasury bonds to their clients. In the auctions, those primary dealers submit secret ballots before 11 a.m. for as much as 35 percent of the share of the offering. The bank with the highest bid wins.
The Post adds that the Treasury was aware of Goldman’s disproportionate winning streak at the time but "assumed that the bank was just better at pricing the bonds." Perhaps, or maybe Goldman was just looking to frontrun other bidders: think of it as high frequency trading in one of the world's slowest markets.
Treasury officials were aware that other major investors, including some central banks, had concerns that banks were front-running their own customers in order to make more money off of them. “There had been some nervousness on the part of large buyers,” the person said. “They were worried about being front-run sometimes.”
That concern contributed to a surge in direct bidders — investors who bypass the bank and try to get a chunk of the bonds through the auction process—around 2010, the source said.
At the time, big investors wanted “to put their money to work in the government-bond market without revealing their intentions to the primary dealers,” noted a January 2010 Wall Street Journal article about the rise in direct bidders. “When you see a surge in direct bidders, you have to ask what it means,” the person said.
Confirming that Primary Dealers felt trapped after the Post first broke news of the investigation in 2015, they promptly changed how they bid on auctions, according to the suit.
"At the time that the rigging is believed the have happened, Cohn was the No. 2 person at Goldman, behind CEO Lloyd Blankfein. In Cohn’s position as president and co-chief operating officer — a position he later ran by himself — he oversaw the unit of the bank that submitted the bids to Treasury."
Which is likely why if and when the DOJ finally cracks down on the responsible parties, Goldman's name, despite its dominance in TSY auctions in the 2007-2011 period, will not be named. Conveniently for the bank that has spawned more central bankers and politicians in the modern era than anyone else, at least four other banks are being investigated for colluding with Goldman traders: Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, and BNP Paribas.
Treasury officials under former secretary, Jacob Lew, told the Post they found the investigation highly embarrassing, and pressed for a quick resolution of the probe. At least four other agencies—the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the New York Department of Financial Services, as well as the European Commission—are looking into the alleged rigging.
And at least when it comes to Goldman, they will find nothing wrong.
Here are the faces of that same 5% to the 1% pushing development in Houston, New Orleans, and Miami that places communities and 99% of people at risk in only several decades.
THIS IS WHOM WE SHAKE OUR FISTS AT---NOT TRUMP. GET RID OF THOSE 5% BLACK, WHITE, AND BROWN POLS AND PLAYERS so we have SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE 99%-----rather than GLOBAL CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY FOR ONLY THE GLOBAL 1%.
It's all about helping the poor-----
These land deals are in West Baltimore downtown-----these same conditions exist in East Baltimore downtown already built these few decades. I come to work downtown on a bus taking me down city central St Paul-----the REAL flood plain will be about Fayette St and if we look to the EAST we see that VALLEY----this was developed with a JAIL, NON-PROFITS, CITY GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS no doubt because it is LOWLANDS. Flash forward to today and what is called UPTOWN development at top of hill is bringing all kinds of massive global corporate campus high-rises---including expanded OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% FREEMASON MERCY HOSPITAL AND THEIR 'AFFORDABLE HOUSING'.
All that land in East Baltimore is to be developed with jail, non-profits, et al gone ----want to bet the development will be global Johns Hopkins corporate campus housing for workers-----know what will happen at the top of this hill when we get intensified storms and rising sea levels? EXTREME FLOODING.
Business & Developmentby Fern Shen10:30 amJun 24, 201628
Blunt talk about race as Port Covington master plan is approved
Sparks fly as the project powers through the Planning Commission
Above: Cherry Hill’s Michael Middleton, leader of a coalition negotiating with Port Covington developer Sagamore, chastises a critic of the project. (Fern Shen)
Observers who believed that talk about race in Baltimore would get raw after yesterday’s acquittal of a police officer in the Freddie Gray case could have found what they sought not on city streets but in an eighth-floor hearing room downtown.
There at a hearing on the Port Covington Master Plan, a prominent ACLU lawyer, a university professor and others called out the proposed project in the harshest of terms – as “another white, affluent enclave” that is being openly targeted for the upscale “creative class.”
But the people who seemed the most stung by the accusations weren’t the executives from Sagamore Development Company seated in the front row.
It was the black supporters of the waterfront proposal – some sitting in the audience, others sitting as members of the Planning Commission – who fired back with the most heat.
“This is a plan and opportunity for the South Baltimore area, one that rarely has happened. We’ve held your dump. We have the majority of the concentration of your public housing. We’ve had your incinerator,” said Cherry Hill’s Michael Middleton, leader of a coalition of South Baltimore neighborhoods negotiating with Sagamore over what benefits the company might provide them.
“You haven’t sat down with us once, Barbara!” Middleton shouted at the ACLU’s Barbara Samuels, who was calling for the city to reconsider its plan to give the project $660 million in city-backed Tax Increment (TIF) bonds.
ACLU of Maryland’s Barbara Samuels called the Port Covington Master Plan “shockingly vague.” (Fern Shen)
And it wasn’t just the comments from Samuels that seemed to anger Middleton.
At the packed, hours-long meeting that preceded the commission’s not-unexpected approval of the project, some of the harshest remarks came from a fellow Cherry Hill resident, Vivian Singletary.
One of the 30-40 people transported downtown by the Sagamore team in three vans – and given lunch at a nearby Au Bon Pain – the 55-year-old had been holding a pro-Port Covington sign as she sat among the people wearing yellow Port Covington tee shirts.
Vivian Singletary (with blue cap) was transported to the hearing to support the Port Covington plan, but she wound up attacking it. (Fern Shen)
She said she was dismayed to learn that the developers are marketing Port Covington to people with incomes of about $100,000.
“There’s no one I know that makes that kind of money. So that automatically means the people in my community are going to be left out,” Singletary, treasurer of the Cherry Hill Homes Tenant Council, told the commission.
“Our families died in these communities. We lived in these communities. These are our communities,” she said. “To know that people are going to come in and put something nice and lavish that we will never be able to use.”
Singletary, who told The Brew earlier she had come to the hearing because she was both hopeful and skeptical about the project, declared to the audience, “Yes, I held that sign,” but went on to call for more affordable and moderate income housing.
Chastising her, Middleton called her “uninformed.”
Another project opponent, Anthony Williams, made reference to the tension in his remarks at the microphone.
“See, this is what they do to our community. Divide us,” he said.
Commissioner: “It’s Just a Master Plan”It was a theme that ran through the hearing, the second held by the Planning Commission on the plan for the massive 260-acre project that promises to create a city-within-the-city along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.
The audience, so big that the city fire marshal had to move people into a lobby overflow area, included strong supporters, among them a representative of a workforce development organization for veterans and the chairman of the Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce.
“This project has the potential to be transformative for the city,” said Elizabeth Mount, executive director of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance.
The jobs created at a future Port Covington would serve a critical need, she said, in “a city with a dearth of stable employment which can really cause problems for families.”
But it was the project’s critics who drew the most attention from the commissioners yesterday.
“Which part of the plan is a civil rights violation?” Commissioner Victor L. Bonaparte asked, pressing Samuels on her testimony.
Samuels said the TIF application’s description of a high-income “creative class” is code for a majority white demographic that ignores the Title VI requirement of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“You’re saying black affluent people couldn’t be there?” Bonaparte demanded at another point of the hearing.
Commissioner Cheo D. Hurley objected to the idea that perceived flaws in the Master Plan meant that approval should be withheld.
“This is like Step 1 of a process that’s probably 30 steps, right?” he said. “So how do you think us making a decision today will impact anybody having more to say about what happens? I don’t understand. . . It’s just a master plan.”
Planning Commissioner Cheo Hurley chastises critics of the Port Covington project. (Fern Shen)
At another point, Hurley, who recently became the executive director of Park Heights Renaissance, exploded.
“I wish I had all these people come up to make these arguments in that community which is 99%, 100% black,” he said.
“But because whoever’s not coming to develop there, nobody gives a crap. It upsets me, quite honestly.”
Sagamore: Affordable Housing is Costly
Another speaker arguing that the project would worsen the city’s racial disparities was Morgan State University Professor Lawrence Brown, who said the bodies approving the project are ignoring federal law requiring a fair housing review.
“Will we intensify racial segregation that characterizes Baltimore right now?” Brown said. “Or will we follow the 1968 Fair Housing Act that was passed just seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King?”
Lawrence Brown, a professor at Morgan State University, says the project will worsen segregation in Baltimore. (Fern Shen)
Sagamore Development President Marc Weller was in the audience, but when it came time for a response that duty was handed over to Sagamore’s attorney, Jon Laria.
“We are really on the same page,” Laria said. “A lot of the questions are being raised prematurely and could be addressed as we get further along.”
“We are firmly committed to a mixed income community,” Laria said. “Please don’t pull some numbers out of a spreadsheet from the TIF” application that were “taken out of context.”
Laria said the designers are doing their best to “get rid of the horrible isolation” of the site on a peninsula of land, and said its large size means that Sagamore has “a double duty” to serve both the surrounding communities and the city as a whole.
But he also complained that critics’ demands for lower-cost housing are not reasonable.
“It is incredibly expensive to build high-quality affordable housing,” he said.
“You can’t just push the entire cost of this much affordable housing onto a private developer no matter how big it is or how many zeroes there are, because it still has to work economically and that is a responsibility that is shared by both the developer and the city.”
Here is yet ANOTHER METHOD of real estate fraud in Baltimore we KNOW has soared these few decades of CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA where no Federal oversight has allowed rogue politicians and city/state's attorneys turn their backs on organized crime in real estate-----in this case it is that PROPERTY AUCTION---we pointed to such an auction on NORTH AVE IN MT ROYAL where real estate slated to be the most valuable in MOVING FORWARD CITY CENTER FOR GLOBAL 1% AND THEIR 2% ONLY----is sold for a SONG.
From car auctions to real estate auctions----we have organized crime tied to these auctions no doubt that 5% getting their patronage from what are city-run operations.
We KNOW the amount of real estate tied to fraudulent property tax and vacant building auctions is MASSIVE in Baltimore and those sales can be VOIDED.
In the case of our working class homeowners losing their homes to these tax schemes---this is how we get that property back into the hands of WE THE PEOPLE THE 99%.
Witness Says He Rigged Bids in Property Tax Lien Auctions in Maryland
Baltimore real estate attorney John Reiff said he and two law partners helped fix bids for the purchase of “large numbers” of property tax debts, called tax liens, sold by tax assessors at auctions in Baltimore and several other Maryland counties between 2003 and 2007, according to court filings made public for the first time last month.
More than two dozen states sell to investors — often banks and Wall Street hedge funds — the right to collect unpaid property taxes and other municipal bills. An investigation published in December by the Center for Public Integrity showed how lien buyers can tack on double-digit interest rates, legal fees and other costs that can add thousands of dollars to a homeowner’s bill. In some states, lien holders can seize homes from those who fail to pay.
The bid rigging cost the city of Baltimore and surrounding counties money by artificially holding down bids, local officials say, although they could not determine how much.
“I don’t think there’s any question but that the city was harmed by what was done by these six folks, and I suppose, potentially others,” City Solicitor George Nilson told the Baltimore Sun. “Could I put a price tag on it? No.”
Though the tax-lien industry has long been controversial, the Baltimore lawyer’s sworn declaration appears to be the first to mention a bank, or a tax-lien portfolio manager, in connection with allegations of criminal conduct in the bidding process.
Reiff stated that a firm formed with his law partners acted to “suppress competition for tax liens by refraining from full competitive bidding.” Reiff and his two partners cooperated with the government and were not charged.
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore unsealed Reiff’s declaration and some other records at the request of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, now part of the Center for Public Integrity.
Bids Placed for BankAtlantic, Mooring AssetReiff stated that the firm bid on behalf of several companies, including two subsidiaries of BankAtlantic Bancorp. called Heartwood 88 LLC and Sunrise Atlantic LLC. The Fort Lauderdale-based bank, which has $4.5 billion in assets and 100 branches in Florida, has invested in tax liens in several states in recent years. Bank officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Reiff said his firm also bid for the Mooring Asset Group, a Virginia company that has managed tax lien investments for Bank of America Corp. Mooring also has managed a large portfolio of Florida tax liens that Bank of America sold last year in a securities deal.
Mooring is among tax lien companies subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in New Jersey that is also investigating the industry. Mooring has denied any wrongdoing and said it is cooperating fully with the New Jersey investigation.
Reiff’s sworn statement does not specify if banks or corporate investors knew about the bidding collusion.
Mooring official Jim Meeks told the Center that Reiff had represented his company, but denied any knowledge of bid rigging. “This is a shocker to me,” he said.
Meeks said: “We never conspired or colluded with anybody in these auctions,” adding that the company had not heard from prosecutors. “We were never contacted regarding the case by the Department of Justice. They must have concluded that we were not involved,” he said. Bank of America declined to comment.
Reiff and his partners, Anthony DeLaurentis and Richard Turer, were one of three investment groups that participated in the five-year scheme to dominate the tax lien auctions, according to prosecutors.
Three other participants have pleaded guilty to bid rigging in the case. In May, Baltimore County attorney Harvey M. Nusbaum, 73, was sentenced to a year-and-a-day in prison and an $800,000 fine. His partner, Jack W. Stollof, 75, was sentenced to 12 months of house arrest and an $800,000 fine. A third man, Steven L. Berman , 53, received two years probation and a $750,000 fine.
“Bid rigging is typically a clandestine effort made to line the pockets of unscrupulous businessmen at the expense of unsuspecting consumers — in this case, at the expense of homeowners and county and city governments,” Justice Department prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum about Nusbaum. “In principle, bid rigging is no different from any other common theft of money or property. It is criminal fraud, pure and simple.”
The unsealed records describe in detail how the well-financed investment groups illegally dominated the process in Maryland through collusion — and how they made millions of dollars off homeowners as a result.
Scheme Aimed to Limit Auction Price of LiensThe three groups, according to Reiff, decided in advance which liens each would bid on.
The groups would either not bid on liens not assigned to them, or would submit intentionally low bids as a cover, he said. The scheme was designed to reduce the amount each would pay local governments for liens. The investors collected interest rates from homeowners of between 12 percent and 20 percent and legal fees and other charges.
“Attorneys’ fees can run to thousands of dollars per lien and are not dependent on the amount of taxes or other fees owed by the homeowner,” Reiff said.
Government prosecutors alleged that lawyer Nusbaum could have made a minimum of $6 million in fees he charged homeowners to keep from losing their property.
In the unsealed documents, prosecutors cited the plight of Kevin Shoop, who was sued by Nusbaum over an unpaid tax bill. Nusbaum’s office demanded $4,000 in legal fees to settle the matter. When he contacted the law firm to try and work out a settlement he was told, “You will pay,” according to Shoop.
Prosecutors also cited the case of Laurie Gross who owed $199.57 in back taxes on a property in Montgomery County, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. Nusbaum demanded $3,972 in fees to avoid foreclosure.
“Such homeowners, many of whom had no idea they owed taxes or water bills, did not object to paying their debt when they learned of it. They could hardly afford to pay attorneys’ fees sometimes 1,000 percent more than their debts into the pocket of defendant only because he won the right to collect those attorneys’ fees in rigged tax lien auctions,” prosecutors wrote.
The Justice Department’s antitrust division in Washington began investigating the Maryland sales after a Baltimore Sun analysis of sales records showed that while large numbers of investors participated in the annual tax sales, three groups dominated in Baltimore and other counties in the state.
Reiff has been a key witness in the federal probe that has resulted in three convictions. He and his two partners cooperated with the government and were not charged.
Building on that reporting, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund found that nearly a dozen major banks and hedge funds, anticipating quick profits from homeowners who fell behind on property taxes, had quietly plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into the tax-lien industry, often by creating corporate aliases that obscured their identities from the public.
In many cases, homeowners who owed only a few hundred dollars in taxes or municipal bills saw their debt soar into thousands because of the fees and interest. A Baltimore woman lost the home her family had owned for nearly three decades over what began as an unpaid water bill of $362, for instance.
The court motion to unseal the records was filed by Michael J. Baratz and Robert Moore, of the Washington, D.C., law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, who volunteered to take the case on a pro bono basis.
When the US allows Robber Baron CLINTON/BUSH/OBAMA to remain in office we know all avenues of city transactions will be filled with fraud. Here is yet again that AUCTION process for real estate----these auctions can be by global Wall Street banks having attained the properties through Wall Street subprime mortgage loan fraud----or it can be a city-controlled auction over tax and water bills. BOTH lead to auction frauds and we know this happens in Baltimore.
This is why we shout for WE THE PEOPLE THE 99% not to feel helpless or defeated-------these few decades filled with fraud and corruption can of course allow us to reverse public policy----real estate deals-----EASY PEASY.
Georgia real estate investors guilty of fraud, bid rigging at public foreclosure auctions
Feb 3, 2015, 2:54pm EST
Industries & Tags
Phil W. Hudson Staff Writer Atlanta Business Chronicle
Two Georgia real estate investors pleaded guilty Jan. 29 for their roles in a conspiracy to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, from at least as early as April 2008 until at least March 2012, Mohammad Adeel Yoonas conspired with others not to bid against one another, but instead designated a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Gwinnett County, Ga.
Yoonas was also charged with a conspiracy to use the mail to carry out a scheme to acquire fraudulently titles to selected Gwinnett County properties sold at public auctions, to make and receive payoffs and to divert money to co-conspirators that would have gone to mortgage holders, homeowners and others by holding second, private auctions open only to members of the conspiracy. The department said that the selected properties were then awarded to the conspirators who submitted the highest bids in the second, private auctions.
Additionally, the DOJ alleged Kevin Shin conspired with others not to bid against one another, but instead designated a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Gwinnett County from at least as early as March 2009 until at least March 2012.
Shin was also charged with a conspiracy to use the mail to carry out a scheme to acquire fraudulently title to selected Gwinnett County properties sold at public auctions, to make and receive payoffs and to divert money to co-conspirators that would have gone to mortgage holders, homeowners and others by holding second, private auctions open only to members of the conspiracy. The DOJ said that the selected properties were then awarded to the conspirators who submitted the highest bids in the second, private auctions.
The DOJ's Antitrust Division said that the primary purpose of the conspiracies was to suppress and restrain competition and to conceal payoffs in order to obtain selected real estate offered at Gwinnett County public foreclosure auctions at non-competitive prices.
"When real estate properties are sold at these auctions, the proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage, and other debt attached to the property, with remaining proceeds, if any, paid to the homeowner," the DOJ reported.
According to court documents, Yoonas and Shin paid and received money that otherwise would have gone to pay off the mortgage and other holders of debt secured by the properties, and, in some cases, the defaulting homeowner.
Below we see to where all that Federal HUD and public housing and senior housing funding is now going----hundreds of billions of dollars ------and these few decades have seen what are OLD WORLD MERCHANTS OF VENICE GLOBAL 1% CATHOLIC, JEWISH, MUSLIM, PROTESTANT FREEMASONS pretending to be religious while being those 5% to the 1% global Wall Street players.
The amount of money laundering from global Wall Street through these freemason groups under the guise of religious charity was TREMENDOUS.
This is why we see those same 5% FAKE RELIGIOUS leaders hawking global corporate campus and ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE US FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE policies---knowing it means lying, cheating, stealing, no morals or ethics, no US Rule of Law, no God's Natural Law pragmatic nihilism ----and this is why our US development is KILLING WE THE PEOPLE----OUR FAMILY WEALTH, OUR ENVIRONMENT and these 5% FAKE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS know this.
Lining up to install AFFORDABLE HOUSING right where climate change damage will be the worst. TAX CREDITS? REALLY????
New Shiloh is that black freemason 'church' partnered with Catholic and Jewish freemason corporations building in US Foreign Economic Zones slated to be filled with devastation.
This is why LOYOLA thinks Goldman Sachs is the CAT'S MEOW!
'Affordable TOD Mercy Othello Plaza opens to residents
The 108-unit affordable housing development is across from a light rail station
by Sarah Anne Lloyd@sarahannelloyd Jul 12, 2017, 3:41pm PDT seattle WA'
Mercy Housing Starts Work on Atlanta-Area Senior Housing
Upon completion in January 2018, the facility will provide 79 affordable units.
by Dees Stribling | Mar 08, 2017
Bon Secours starts $22M expansion of New Shiloh affordable housing complex
Jun 23, 2017, 11:26am EDT Unity Properties, the development arm of Bon Secours Health System, is partnering on the project with Baltimore-based Enterprise Homes Inc. and New Shiloh Baptist Church — the same team that worked on the senior living center.
Bon Secours starts $22M expansion of New Shiloh affordable housing complex
Jun 23, 2017, 11:26am EDT
Bon Secours Baltimore Health System has started work on a new affordable housing apartment complex as part of an expansion to its New Shiloh Village in West Baltimore.
The 73-unit, four-story building broke ground earlier this month and is scheduled to open in July 2018, said George Kleb, director of development for Bon Secours. Known as New Shiloh Village Apartments, the project will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units to low-income families and individuals.
Bon Secours is building a new apartment complex next to the New Shiloh Senior Living… more
Courtesy of Hord Coplan Macht
The $22 million apartment complex is an expansion of the New Shiloh Village Senior Living Center, which Bon Secours opened in 2007 at 1901 Elgin Ave in Mondawmin. The project is adjacent to the senior living complex at the intersection of Payson Street and Elgin Avenue.
Kleb said the building should open next summer, if construction stays on schedule, and will start leasing it out through the end of 2018.
New Shiloh Village Apartments will include a gym, underground and surface parking, multiple common rooms and an outdoor patio that includes a recreational area.
Bon Secours started exploring the idea of building additional affordable housing units on the site when it saw how popular the senior living complex was, Kleb said. That building is completely leased, Kleb said, and the health system has seen a need for affordable housing in the city, an opportunity that Bon Secours can capitalize on.
"There was some talk early on about doing more housing on the site," Kleb said. "It makes a lot of sense. From the organization’s standpoint, we see a lot of need for family housing."
Unity Properties, the development arm of Bon Secours Health System, is partnering on the project with Baltimore-based Enterprise Homes Inc. and New Shiloh Baptist Church — the same team that worked on the senior living center.
Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is serving as the general contractor on the project. The development is being designed by Baltimore-based architects Hord Coplan Macht.
UMB is that global corporate campus in the soon to be FLOOD PLAIN in downtown waterfront and yes this is where we see blocks of 'BON SECOUR '
AFFORDABLE HOUSING' tied to global corporate campus workers' housing. Why a NON-PROFIT expanding nationally and globally just like global JOHNS HOPKINS has all this money for real estate development----
Hmmmmm, seems they are not religiously affiliated.
Our Mercy hospital is doing the same on East Baltimore 'valley' -----when we watch as US cities like Houston, New Orleans, Miami have low-income communities flooding more than others------see small businesses swamped more than others----this is the very development which will bring BALTIMORE to these same DISASTERS.
As important to our 99% of WE THE PEOPLE are the global corporate campuses like UMB built right on water's edge in flood plains-----in several decades it will be UNDERWATER. We need our infrastructure development to RECOGNIZE CLIMATE CHANGE for 99% sustainability.
These are the 5% to the 1% global Wall Street Baltimore Development FAKE LABOR AND JUSTICE organizations that should be working for 99% WE THE PEOPLE but have these few decades been TEAM ROBBER BARON GLOBAL 1% -----MOVING FORWARD.
Bon Secours, UMB BioPark explore partnership to improve West Baltimore
Aug 19, 2013, 1:44pm EDT
Sarah Gantz Reporter Baltimore Business Journal Bon Secours Hospital and the University of Maryland, BioPark may team up to help improve the West Baltimore neighborhood they bookend.
The two organizations met earlier in August to discuss the possibility of working together on neighborhood projects, said Julie Mercer, Bon Secours’ vice president of philanthropy and fund development.
The BioPark is located along West Baltimore Street, on the opposite side of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard as the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Bon Secours is about one mile west. The neighborhood between the two organizations struggles with housing, healthy food options and other basic community resources.
Mercer said the hospital has toiled for years trying to improve its neighborhood. A partnership with the BioPark would be warmly welcomed, she said.
“It’s what we’re doing ourselves right now,” Mercer said. “It would be far more effective to work with another group.”
BioPark Executive Director Jane Shaab declined to discuss the meeting with Bon Secours. Through a spokeswoman, Shaab said the BioPark is involved in revitalizing the West Baltimore neighborhood through an initiative called the Southwest Baltimore Partnership.
The Partnership’s target neighborhoods include Hollins Roundhouse, Pigtown, Mount Clare, Union Square and Franklin Square.
Other group efforts to improve West Baltimore are also in the works. The area is designated as a health enterprise zone, a state program to improve residents’ health and access to health resources in targeted areas. Bon Secours is also a leading player in the West Baltimore Primary Care Access Collaborative, the group tasked with heading up the area’s health enterprise zone activities.
Baltimore placed a few FLOATING SEA GRASS mounds and called that ECO-SUSTAINABILITY in downtown waterfront development.
'That means those scary photoshopped images of New York with flooded streets are real. Over the next 33 years, New York will either be reshaped by flooding, or repeatedly brought to its knees by flooding'.
What Baltimore 99 % must do when we GET RID OF GLOBAL WALL STREET 5% POLS AND PLAYERS is create that forested water-front with rising mounds of estuary-like grasses, brackish/wetland trees taking all of downtown waterfront up to major east west roads. There should be NO DEVELOPMENT on our Dundalk/Canton waterfront except these same forested natural grass/stone parks. These communities need to be pulled back from waterline---as does Fells Point so bringing houses down to demolition should start at waterfront before we go further with MOVING FORWARD GLOBAL INDUSTRIAL PORT OF BALTIMORE.
Climate change weather will not be our undoing----WE THE PEOPLE THE 99% have the ability to adjust----we simply need the current INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT TO STOP MOVING FORWARD. If we wait until 2050 we will have a City of Baltimore that is nothing but concrete global corporate campuses, flooded communities that will have to be abandoned----and at THAT POINT----where will 99% of citizens go---where will those natural resources be?
The ability of forested estuary-like waterfronts to stem both wind and flood IS HUGE ----this is the natural wetlands' job---absorbing storm's impact ----and STOP MOVING FORWARD GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUSES AND GLOBAL FACTORIES.
New York in 2050 Will Be Wetter, Warmer, and More Dangerous
Jan 18 2017, 12:36pmIllustration by Corey Brickley
New Yorkers should prepare for heat waves, floods, and natural disasters.This story is part of VICE's ongoing look at how climate change will have changed the world by the year 2050. Read more about the project here.
Climate change will come to New York the same way water boils around one of those mythical frogs. The city will be the same old New York in 2050; people won't be frying eggs on the manhole covers in the summer, or riding gondolas around Times Square. But by then winter will have fewer than 50 days of freezing cold, instead of the average of 72 that was the norm in the late 20th century. There will be less shivering agony on train platforms, plus less salting and shoveling. But the summers will be harsher—half a dozen heat waves instead of the usual two, and those heat waves will be even longer and more sweltering than usual; there will be twice as many plus-90-degree days as there once were. In 2006, a brutal summer led to 140 people dying of heat-related causes; it's safe to say that that sort of death toll will be routine by 2050.
All of that is according to the estimates in the 2013 Climate Risk Information report from the New York City Panel on Climate Change (I'm using that report's low or median estimates). As one of America's wealthiest and most liberal big cities—where even some prominent Republicans are staunch climate hawks—it's not surprising that New York would commission a report like that, or take other steps toward fighting the effects of climate change. But even with all the resources of the five boroughs, that's a tall order.
Maybe more serious than the general problem of rising temperature is the increase in what would currently call "freak" events. According to Ben Horton, who researches sea level and environmental change at Rutgers University, New York might face more major storms, but it will almost certainly have to deal with floods. "Different models show different trends," he said, pointing out that hurricane-force wind speeds and and increases thunderstorms are tough to estimate, but "we're locked in on sea level rise," he told me.
That means those scary photoshopped images of New York with flooded streets are real. Over the next 33 years, New York will either be reshaped by flooding, or repeatedly brought to its knees by flooding.
What New Yorkers urgently need to understand, according to Horton, is that "rates of sea level rise in New York are greater than the global average." For one thing, New York happens to be sinking for mostly unrelated geological reasons; for another, said Horton, "gravitational attraction between water and large ice sheets" means that "what's happening thousands of kilometers away, in Antarctica will have the greatest impact along the Atlantic seaboard."
When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, it killed 52 New Yorkers, devastated the Sandy Point neighborhood of Queens, flooded the region's coastal areas, and brought widespread power outages—a once-in-a-lifetime weather event. But those sorts of disasters are going to be increasingly common by 2050. "A 2.25-meter flood prior to the 1850s occurred once every 500 years," Horton told me. For most of history, New Yorkers could live their whole lives without seeing that kind of flooding, but those days are over. "The change in that event will decrease to one in five years by 2050."
When the ocean starts to encroach, will the city protect its residents? Not as much as you might think.
"By 2050, there won't be that many barriers in place," said Karen O'Neill, a Rutgers sociologist who studies land and water policy. "It's not very far from now. It takes a long time to build these things, and where the heck does the money come from?"
New York City is trying to adapt to the realities of flooding. For instance, the city plans to spend $2.5 billion over two decades on "green infrastructure"—meaning the creation of permeable surfaces like patches of grass and green roofs that absorb rain, as opposed to sidewalks and roads that (obviously) don't. But that plan would only ease one inch of flooding on 10 percent of the city's non-permeable surfaces, according to a report by WNYC. Also, new residential buildings in New York City are now legally required to be built with up to two feet of "freeboard" that places them two feet above flood level, the same principle that results in those houses on stilts you see elsewhere in the country.
Unavoidably, some New Yorkers will drown as a result of climate change, and others will be have their belongings destroyed by flooding, because some parts of the New York metro area simply will not be ready to handle the rising water. "What happens after storms is that people actually pretty quickly discount the event—by that I mean about five years or so—in terms of if influencing their behavior," O'Neill told me. Specifically, she explained, developers don't do things like reconsider the wisdom of building on land in a flood-prone area like the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.
John Weber, mid-Atlantic regional manager of the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit working to protect coastal areas, said narrow stretches of land like the Rockaways "get pinched on both sides," meaning the smart thing to do is "figure out where it's safe—what's not going to be underwater—and build more densely there." But while it's s good time to think this way currently, it takes a crisis to actually make cities rethink their urban planning, and "nobody makes good decisions in a crisis."
O'Neill said places like the Rockaways are vulnerable because "there's a lot of exposed public housing." And flood areas might be covered with even more public housing in 33 years. "It's low-value land. It's just sitting there," she told me.
If sea level rise brings flooding comparable to Sandy to New York's public housing projects in 2050, we can expect these buildings to be hit in much the same way as it did in 2012—when in some buildings there were no lights for weeks, people used their stoves for warmth, and plumbing completely failed, forcing residents to drink and bathe in fire hydrant water.
But there's also good news, O'Neill said: "No matter what happens, lower Manhattan will be protected." Plans like the $100 million barriers that have been in the works since 2015 will keep the island relatively dry. But she noted that the barriers will strand some businesses on the wet side. "Whenever you draw a line, someone's on the inside, and someone's out. So we're looking at the creation of winners and losers here," O'Neill said.
"Let's be honest about it. None of us really ultimately wins, but some are going to lose worse than others," she added.
Oh NO, say those FAKE ALT LEFT 5% ----look at that devastation from Earthquake in highly populated West Coast -----all those seniors and poor people---all those global labor pool 99% ---oh, sure this is great development for 99% sustainability.
Well, all those fancy high-rise global corporate executive offices are tooled with the latest of earthquake technology----not so much for those global 99% or our 99% of US citizens.
FROM THE EXTREME EARTH 2012 ISSUE
The Giant, Underestimated Earthquake Threat to North America
The enormous fault off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has been silent for three centuries. But after years of detective work, geologists have discovered that it can unleash mayhem on an epic scale.
By Jerry Thompson|Tuesday, March 13, 2012
RELATED TAGS: NATURAL DISASTERS
The "ghost forest" of dead cedar trees at the Copalis River on the Washington coast is evidence of a major quake three centuries ago.
Just over one year ago, a magnitude-9 earthquake hit the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan, triggering one of the most destructive tsunamis in a thousand years. The Japanese—the most earthquake-prepared, seismically savvy people on the planet—were caught off-guard by the Tohoku quake’s savage power. Over 15,000 people died.
Now scientists are calling attention to a dangerous area on the opposite side of the Ring of Fire, the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a fault that runs parallel to the Pacific coast of North America, from northern California to Vancouver Island. This tectonic time bomb is alarmingly similar to Tohoku, capable of generating a megathrust earthquake at or above magnitude 9, and about as close to Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver as the Tohoku fault is to Japan’s coast. Decades of geological sleuthing recently established that although it appears quiet, this fault has ripped open again and again, sending vast earthquakes throughout the Pacific Northwest and tsunamis that reach across the Pacific.
What happened in Japan will probably happen in North America. The big question is when.
On a foggy spring morning just before sunrise, 27 miles northwest of Cape Mendocino, California, a pimple of rock roughly a dozen miles below the ocean floor finally reaches its breaking point. Two slabs of the Earth’s crust begin to slip and shudder and snap apart.
The first jolt of stress coming out of the rocks sends a shock wave hurtling into Northern California and southern Oregon like a thunderbolt. For a few stunned drivers on the back roads in the predawn gloom, the pulse of energy that tears through the ground looks dimly like a 20-mile wrinkle moving through a carpet of pastures and into thick stands of redwoods.
Telephone poles whip back and forth as if caught in a hurricane. Power lines rip loose in a shower of blue and yellow sparks, falling to the ground where they writhe like snakes, snapping and biting. Lights go out and the telephone system goes down.
Cornices fall, brick walls crack, plate glass shatters. Pavement buckles, cars and trucks veer into ditches and into each other. A bridge across the Eel River is jerked off its foundations, taking a busload of farm workers with it. With computers crashing and cell towers dropping offline, all of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties in California are instantly cut off from the outside world, so nobody beyond the immediate area knows how bad it is here or how widespread the damage.
At the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) lab in Menlo Park, seismometers peg the quake at magnitude 8.1, and the tsunami detection centers in Alaska and Hawaii begin waking up the alarm system with standby alerts all around the Pacific Rim. Early morning commuters emerging from a BART station in San Francisco feel the ground sway beneath their feet and immediately hit the sidewalk in a variety of awkward crouches, a familiar fear chilling their guts.
Then another little rough spot on the bottom of the continent snaps off.
The fault unzips some more.
The outer edge of California snaps free like a steel spring in a juddering lurch—nine feet to the west. The continental shelf heaves upward, lifting a mountain of seawater.
The fault continues to rip all the way to Newport, Oregon, halfway up the state. The magnitude suddenly jumps to 8.6. A power surge blows a breaker somewhere east of town and feeds back through the system, throwing other breakers in a cascade that quickly crashes the entire grid in Oregon, Washington, and parts of California, Idaho, and Nevada. A brownout begins in six more western states. The wire line phone systems crash in lockstep.
Then another fragment of rock deep underneath Newport shears away. The fault unzips the rest of the way to Vancouver Island. The quake now pins seismic needles at magnitude 9.2. High-rise towers in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria begin to undulate. The shock wave hammers through sandy soil, soft rock, and landfill like the deepest notes on a big string bass. The mushy ground sings harmony and tall buildings hum like so many tuning forks.
On I-5, the main north-south interstate highway, 37 bridges between Sacramento and Bellingham, Washington, collapse or are knocked off their pins. Five more go down between the Canada–United States border and downtown Vancouver. Nineteen railway bridges along the north-south coastal mainline of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway are wrecked as well. The runways of every major coastal airport from Northern California to Vancouver are buckled, cracked, and no longer flyable.
After 50 cycles of harmonic vibration—skyscrapers swaying rhythmically from side to side in giddy wobbles—dozens of tall buildings have shed most of their glass. In some downtown intersections the cascade of broken shards has piled up three feet deep.
Shock waves have been pummeling the Pacific Northwest for four minutes and thirty-five seconds now, and it still isn’t over. After 64 cycles, enough welds have cracked, enough concrete has spalled, enough shear walls have come unstuck that some towers begin to pancake. The same death spiral everyone saw in New York on 9/11 happens all over again. Smaller buildings, but more of them. Dozens of towers go down in the four northernmost of the affected cities.
In the five major urban areas along the fault, tens of thousands of people have been seriously injured. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, are dead. More than a third of the oncoming shift of police, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, and doctors do not show up for work. They are either stranded by collapsed buildings, bridges, and roadways, injured or dead themselves, or have decided to stick close to home to make sure their own families are OK before going to work. People who survive the collapses must do their own search and rescue for family members, friends, and neighbors still trapped in the rubble. Help will come eventually, but who knows when?
People in the United States and Canada, if they think at all about earthquake disasters, probably conjure up the San Andreas fault in the worst-case scenario. In California, as they wait for “the Big One,” people wonder which city the San Andreas will wreck next—San Francisco or Los Angeles? But if by the Big One they mean the earthquake that will wreak havoc over the widest geographic area, that could destroy the most critical infrastructure, that could send a train of tsunamis across the Pacific causing economic mayhem that would probably last a decade or more—then the seismic demon to blame could not possibly be the San Andreas. It would have to be Cascadia’s fault.
One year after Japan’s devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, scientists are still trying to figure out how the world’s most organized and earthquake-ready nation could have been taken so much by surprise. They were hit by an earthquake roughly 25 times more powerful than experts thought possible in that part of the country. How could the forecast have been so wrong? The short answer is they didn’t look far enough back in geologic time to see that quakes and tsunamis just this big had indeed occurred there before. If they had prepared themselves for a much larger quake and wave, the outcome might have been entirely different.
Courtesy Chris Goldfinger
Exactly the same is true of the Cascadia subduction zone—an almost identical geologic threat off the west coast of North America. When it was first discovered, many scientists thought Cascadia’s fault was incapable of generating giant earthquakes. Now they know they were wrong. They just hadn’t looked far enough into the past.
The Cascadia subduction zone is a crack in the Earth’s crust, roughly 60 miles offshore and running 800 miles from northern Vancouver Island to Northern California. This fault is part of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire, the impact zone where several massive tectonic plates collide. Here, a slab of the Pacific Ocean floor called the Juan de Fuca plate slides eastward and downward, “subducting” underneath the continental plate of North America.
When any two plates grind against each and get stuck, enormous stress builds up until the rocks fracture and the fault rips apart in a giant earthquake. Two other segments of the Ring of Fire ruptured this way--Chile in 1960 at magnitude 9.5, the largest quake ever recorded on Earth, and Alaska’s horrible Good Friday earthquake of 1964, at 9.2 the strongest jolt ever to hit the continent of North America.
Cascadia, however, is classified as the quietest subduction zone in the world. Along the Cascadia segment, geologists could find no evidence of major quakes in “all of recorded history”—the 140 years since white settlers arrived in the Pacific Northwest and began keeping records. For reasons unknown, it appeared to be a special case. The system was thought to be aseismic—essentially quake free and harmless.
By the 1970s several competing theories emerged to explain Cascadia’s silence. One possibility was that the Juan de Fuca plate had shifted direction, spun slightly by movement of the two larger plates on either side of it. This would reduce the rate of eastward motion underneath North America and thus reduce the buildup of earthquake stress. Another possibility was that the angle of the down-going eastbound plate was too shallow to build up the kind of friction needed to cause major quakes.
But the third possibility was downright scary. In this interpretation, the silence along the fault was merely an ominous pause. It could be that these two great slabs of the Earth’s crust were jammed against each other and had been for a very long time—locked together by friction for hundreds of years, far longer than “all of recorded history.” If that were true, they would be building up the kind of stress and strain that only a monster earthquake could relieve.
In the early 1980s, two Caltech geophysicists, Tom Heaton and Hiroo Kanamori, compared Cascadia to active quake-prone subduction zones along the coasts of Chile and Alaska and to the Nankai Trough off the coast of Japan. They found more similarities than differences. In fact, they found that the biggest megathrust events in these other zones were directly related to young, buoyant plates’ being strongly coupled to the overlying landmass at shallow angles—which fit the description of Cascadia perfectly. Bottom line: If giant ruptures could happen there—in Chile, Alaska, or Japan—the same would probably happen here, in the Pacific Northwest.
The problem, as Heaton explained it to me, was that there was no direct physical sign of earthquakes. All the comparison studies in the world could not prove unequivocally that Cascadia’s fault had ruptured in the past. What everyone needed and wanted was forensic evidence. In the breach, significant doubt and strong disagreement had separated the scientists into opposing camps. “There was plenty of skepticism out there among geophysicists that the zone really was capable of doing this stuff,” confirms paleogeologist Brian Atwater of the U.S. Geological Survey at the University of Washington in Seattle.
The only thing that could put an end to the back-and-forth debate would be tangible signs of past ruptures along the entire subduction zone. If the two plates were sliding past each other smoothly, at a constant rate, and without getting stuck together, then there should be a slow, continuous, and irreversible rise in land levels along the outer coast. On the other hand, if the two plates were stuck together by friction, strain would build up in the rocks and the upper plate would bend down along the outer edge and thicken inland, humping upward until the rocks along the fault failed. In the violent, shuddering release of strain during an earthquake, the upper plate would snap to the west, toward its original shape. The clear signal—the geodetic fingerprint—of a large subduction earthquake would be the abrupt lowering of land behind the beaches when the upper plate got stretched like taffy, snapped to the west, and then sank below the tide line.
That was something Atwater figured he could probably measure and verify—or disprove. “When they said the Pacific Coast was rising three millimeters a year relative to Puget Sound, I said, ‘Aha! Three meters per thousand!’ ” He would go out to the coast and find out whether a 3,000-year-old shoreline was now 30 feet above sea level, simple as that.
In March 1986 Atwater drove west from Seattle toward Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, on the northwestern tip of Washington State, and started searching the beaches, tide marshes, and river estuaries for clues about whether the outer coast had risen or dropped.
Neah Bay was as good a place as any to start because the land all around it is so close to sea level it was highly likely he would be able to spot even slight changes in shoreline elevation. Atwater spent a few rainy days on the marshy floor of this valley. At first he poked holes with a core barrel and came up with nothing unusual, just signs that sand and silt had built the marsh by filling a former bay. But late one afternoon, with the tide down, he tried his luck digging into the muddy bank of a stream that emptied into the marsh. Several swipes of his army shovel exposed something odd a few feet below the top of the bank, beneath a layer of sand from the bay. It was a marsh soil, marked by the remains of a plant he recognized: seaside arrowgrass.
Pretty quickly he recognized what he was looking at—evidence that land formerly high enough above the highest tides for plants to be living on it had suddenly dropped down far enough for the plants to be killed by saltwater.
This subsidence of the landscape had apparently happened very quickly. That uppermost layer of sand, above the peaty soil, had been dumped on top quickly enough to seal off the arrowgrass from the air and keep it from rotting. These plants were hundreds of years old, but they were still recognizable.
Was it physical proof that the ground here had slumped during an earthquake, that the plants of a marsh or forest meadow had been drowned quite suddenly by incoming tides and perhaps buried under the sands of a huge tsunami? Could this finally be a real smoking gun?
The deeper Atwater dug, the more he found. During that summer he and two coworkers uncovered evidence of at least six different events— presumably six different earthquakes—that had each caused about three feet or so of down-drop.
He returned to the coast in 1987 with David Yamaguchi, who had a Ph.D. in forestry from the University of Washington and was working on a project for the USGS to use tree-ring dating to figure out when Mount St. Helens had erupted prior to 1980. Together they found groves of weather-beaten, moss-draped dead western red cedar tree trunks standing knee-deep in saltwater, what became known as ghost forests. Western red cedar doesn’t grow in saltwater; these trees had presumably been killed when forest meadows subsided following an earthquake and were swamped with saltwater.
Yamaguchi’s first effort to use spruce stumps to establish a time of inundation and death had failed because, with all the rot, there were not enough rings left to count. Western red cedar, however, was more durable than spruce. Using live trees for comparison, Yamaguchi was able to establish that the cedars had rings up until the early 1690s. The earthquake that killed these cedars must have happened some time soon after then, and later samples from the roots of these trees confirmed that they were killed in the winter of 1700.
What Brian Atwater had discovered in estuaries along the Washington shore, Alan Nelson of the USGS and a team of international colleagues found as well in Oregon and British Columbia in 1995. He and 11 other scientists invested considerable time and effort—including 85 new radiocarbon-dated samples—to obtain the most accurate time line possible. They found that all the ghost forests and marsh plants along the Pacific Northwest coast had been killed at the same moment in time as the land dropped down and was covered by tsunami sand, roughly three centuries ago. If the coastline had slumped in river mouths and bays that were many miles apart, the quakes must have been very big. Atwater was pretty sure they were bigger than anything that had happened during Washington’s written history.
But across the Pacific, written history extends further into the past. Kenji Satake of the Geological Survey of Japan and colleagues soon discovered another piece of the puzzle. They found records from the year 1700 of a 16-foot-high tsunami that struck the eastern seaboard of Japan—apparently out of nowhere, since there was no mention of a local earthquake. Taken together, the evidence strongly suggested that Cascadia’s fault was the source of the giant wave.
Together, Atwater, Yamaguchi, Satake, and their colleagues had sleuthed out precisely when Cascadia had last yawned open. Atwater’s tsunami sands gave a carbon date some time between 1690 and 1720. Rings from the cedar trees narrowed the date to the winter of 1699–1700. Finally, Satake’s written records of a tsunami hitting villages all along eastern Japan nailed the date: Cascadia’s last monster quake happened on January 26, 1700, at 9 p.m. They had cracked the case—except in this detective story, the culprit would almost certainly strike again.
The evidence amassed since then suggests that in fact, Cascadia has generated powerful earthquakes not just once or twice, but over and over again throughout geologic time. A research team led by Chris Goldfinger at Oregon State University (OSU) used core samples from the ocean floor along the fault to establish that there have been at least 41 Cascadia events in the last ten thousand years. Nineteen of those events ripped the fault from end to end, a “full margin rupture.”
It turns out that Cascadia is virtually identical to the offshore faults that devastated Sumatra in 2004 and Japan in 2011—almost the same length, the same width, and with the same tectonic forces at work. Cascadia’s fault can and will generate the same kind of earthquake we saw last year: magnitude 9 or higher. It will send a train of deadly tsunami waves across the Pacific and crippling shock waves across a far wider geographic area than all the California quakes you’ve ever heard about.
Based on historical averages, the southern end of the fault—from Cape Mendocino, California, to Newport, Oregon—has a large earthquake every 240 years. For the northern end—from mid-Oregon to mid- Vancouver Island—the average “recurrence interval” is 480 years, according to a recent Canadian study. And while the north may have only half as many jolts, they tend to be full-size disasters in which the entire fault breaks from end to end.
With a time line of 41 events the science team at OSU has now calculated that the California–Oregon end of Cascadia’s fault has a 37 percent chance of producing a major earthquake in the next 50 years. The odds are 10 percent that an even larger quake will strike the upper end, in a full-margin rupture, within 50 years. Given that the last big quake was 312 years ago, one might argue that a very bad day on the Cascadia Subduction Zone is ominously overdue. It appears that three centuries of silence along the fault has been entirely misleading. The monster is only sleeping.