Mystery Company Is Buying Up Thousands Of Acres Near An Air Force Base

American military officials have opened an investigation into a secretive company that nabbed roughly 5,000 acres of dry farmland near Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco. 

Located in Solano County, California, the base is a vital strategic hub for the United States Air Force. Travis AFB plays a crucial role in global mobility and aerial refueling operations. Its strategic location on the West Coast enables rapid response and deployment capabilities for national defense and humanitarian missions. 

The investigation focuses on a company called Flannery Associates, which records show has spent nearly a billion dollars to become the largest landowner in Solano County and is suspected to be connected to China.

The Wall Street Journal reports that an attorney representing Flannery said it is controlled by U.S. citizens and that 97% of its invested capital comes from U.S. investors, with the remaining 3% from British and Irish investors. Flannery previously told Solano County the entity “is owned by a group of families looking to diversify their portfolio from equities into real assets, including agricultural land in the western United States.”

“Any speculation that Flannery’s purchases are motivated by the proximity to Travis Air Force Base” is unfounded, the attorney said.

The Air Force’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Office has been investigating Flannery’s purchases of roughly 52,000 acres, including around Travis Air Force Base, according to people familiar with the matter. But the office, which has been looking into the matter for about eight months, has yet to be able to determine who is backing the group, one of the people said.

“We don’t know who Flannery is, and their extensive purchases do not make sense to anybody in the area,” said Rep. John Garamendi, (D., Calif.) the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel. “The fact that they’re buying land purposefully right up to the fence at Travis raises significant questions.”

Garamendi and Rep. Mike Thompson (D., Calif.), whose districts include the area where land has been bought, have asked for an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a multiagency panel that can advise the president to block or unwind foreign acquisitions for security concerns.

The investigation has yet to reveal much. The Daily Mail noted that “after eight months of investigation, the Air Force’s ‘Foreign Investment Risk Review Office’ has failed to identify any one individual behind the Flannery.” Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has also looked into the company but found nothing. 

‘Nobody can figure out who they are,” Ronald Kott, mayor of nearby Rio Vista, which is now largely surrounded by Flannery land, The newspaper reported. “Whatever they’re doing – this looks like a very long-term play.”

The shady group has also launched a massive lawsuit against the landowners and Solano County. The Daily Republic writes, “The mysterious Flannery Group, which for about five years has been purchasing land in the Jepson Prairie and Montezuma Hills area of Solano County, has sued some landowners in those areas for at least $510 million.

‘Flannery estimates that, to date, the Conspirators and their illegal price-fixing conspiracy have caused damages to Flannery from overpayment for properties from the Conspirators, their co-owners, and third parties of at least $170 million and that Defendants are therefore jointly and severally liable to pay Flannery treble damages in the amount of at least $510 million,’ states the lawsuit, which was filed by Flannery Associates LLC on May 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.

‘This is a simple case about a group of wealthy landowners who saw an opportunity to conspire, collude, price fix, and illegally overcharge Flannery, a buyer who had approached these landowners on an individual basis to buy their properties in the Jepson Prairie and Montezuma Hills area of Solano County, California,’ the lawsuit states.”

The lawsuit claims that the defendants “violated federal and state antitrust laws, and specifically parts of the federal Sherman Act, parts of the state Cartwright Act and the California Unfair Competition Law.

The Flannery Group ‘is owned by a group of families looking to diversify their portfolio from equities into real assets, including agricultural land in the western United States,’ the group’s attorney wrote in a letter to the county.”

A Travis Air Force Base spokesperson spoke to Republic World and “acknowledged their awareness of the land purchases near the base and assured that they are actively collaborating with other agencies to gather more information. As the U.S. Air Force delves into the details of these acquisitions, the motive and potential implications behind Flannery Associates’ significant investments remain a subject of intense scrutiny.”

So far, the company has bought 140 properties in the area.

[Read More: Latest CDC Guidance Will Make Your Stomach Churn]

You may also like

More in:News

Comments are closed.