Edenmoor: Mick Mulvaney's Boondoggle

Project Name: Edenmoor
Original Name: St. Katherine's
Original Developer: Mick Mulvaney

EdenmoorIt has become a household name in the last few years, since it became a nightmare for Lancaster County -- with its clear-cut pollution, unpaid taxes, disappearing developers, secret partners, and broken promises.  But do you know who brought the Edenmoor nightmare to Lancaster?  None other than our own Congressman -- Mick Mulvaney!   

When Mick Mulvaney had it, he called it St. Katherine's.  This was supposed to be a wonderful development on Highway 521, providing our County with a town center, state of the art ball fields, a skate park, and EMS center, and so on.  But . . . they've defaulted on their $30 Million bonds and have incurred nearly $2.2 Million in mechanics liens. Edenmoor is St. Katherine's repackaged.  
Don't take our word for it, read for yourself what Mulvaney promised to do for Lancaster County:  Mulvaney Plan Will Blend Uses Over 803 Acres  and 

In 2004, St. Katherine's was going to move Lancaster County into the 21st Century as a thriving metropolis (according to Charlotte Real Estate Developer (and now Congressman) Mick Mulvaney). He promised to build:
Who made these promises? Mick Mulvaney! -- your Congressman!

And all he needed from Lancaster County Council was for them to approve a $30 Million Dollar bond! 

The County approved Mulvaney's $30 Million bond that day . . . But he didn't build the development like he had promised us. Instead, he flipped the property - and pocketed over $11 Million! (Well, in fairness, his parents got $2 Million of that through their company, K&J Properties -- Mulvaney likes to point out that he didn't really get the whole profit).

Now, Mulvaney points out, "there's nothing wrong with making money -- that's just business!"  But, there is something wrong with misleading your local government to get them to participate in your scam to pocket the big bucks.  I mean. . . in my humble opinion . . . .  I suppose Mick Mulvaney disagrees.

After getting the bonds approved by Lancaster County, Mulvaney flipped the property to his "partner," Lawson’s Bend / LM Sandler & Sons – for a multi-million-dollar personal profit. . . and he never returned to a Council Meeting to talk about this development again.  Ever.

Nothing wrong with making money, says Mick Mulvaney.  Nothing wrong with making money. . . .

But . . . Mulvaney convinced the County to approve the $30 Million Bonds by assuring the County that he would remain on board as the developer and "partner."  Mulvaney said he couldn't tell the County who the "partner" was because he was still in the "very early stages" of his negotiations.  Not true.  Mulvaney and the "partner" had executed their purchase contract a week before he made these promises to the Lancaster County Council.  Very early stages, Mick?  Could there maybe be another reason you didn't want to reveal your partner's identity?  Click to listen as Mick Mulvaney tells Lancaster County Council about his "partner": 

Although Mulvaney claimed that the new developer was his "partner," and that he would remain responsible for the development, years have passed, and he has never returned to a Lancaster County Council to speak about this development or "introduce" his partner, as he promised.  It appears that Mulvaney has walked away with his millions -- while the citizens of Lancaster County are still waiting. . . . and waiting . . . . Hey, that's just business claims Mick Mulvaney.

I think we have a clue as to why Mickey wanted to keep his partner a secret -- they obviously weren't able to follow through.  Another clue Mulvaney should have had is that one full month before he stood before County Council telling them about the terrific reputation of his "secret partner" (which we now know to be LM Sandler& Sons), an article appeared in the Triangle Business Journal detailing the $78.2 Million in loans on which the Sandlers had defaulted, and went on to describe the Sandlers' development as a "black eye" on the community. The article was dated August 6, 2004 and was entitled: "Sandlers Loans in Default; Could be a Foreclosure." Click here to read it. Wonder if Mulvaney read it. . . maybe that's why he kept his partner a secret until after the $30 Million bonds had been approved!

As he was taking the money and running, Mulvaney was assuring Lancaster County Council that his "partner" was a great and solvent guy - even though he couldn't really tell them who this secret partner was . . . just trust me guys . . . it's not like I've ever flipped property for a personal profit and left you holding the bag . . . well, except Patriot's Creek . . . and please don't bring up Heritage Hall -- Geesh!

So what reason did Mulvaney give for keeping his parner a secret?

"We're still in the very early stages of our negotiations. . . "

Really, Mick?  We now know that a week before Mulvaney spoke to the Council claiming that the reason he couldn't tell them about his secret partner was because of "early stage negotiations," he had already entered into a contract of sale with the new developers. 

Here's what we know about Mulvaney and his secret "partner"?
  • Mulvaney said he interviewed 5 people who wanted to be his "partner" in this project
  • Mulvaney said he settled on a "partner" with whom he was "100% confident"
  • Mulvaney said he chose a partner who "would allow me to show my face" . . . (bad choice)
  • But Mulvaney wanted to keep his partner a secret until after the $30Million bonds had passed third reading
  • Mulvaney's Secret Partner turned out to be Lawson's Bend / LM Sandler & Sons, Virginia Corporations
  • Mulvaney's Secret Partner had just defaulted on $78.2 Million in loans in NC the month before Mulvaney told the County he'd taken them on as his secret partner in whom he was 100% confident  -- Click Here to Read:  Sandlers' Loans in Default; Could be a Foreclosure
  • Mulvaney's Secret Partner has continually failed to pay its property taxes on Edenmoor -- Click Here to Read:  Fort Mill Times; Edenmoor Owes Taxes 2-27-08
  • When Mulvaney's secret partner did pay its County taxes on Edenmoor, its check to the county bounced
  • Mulvaney's Secret Partner has incurred DHEC fines of at least $15,000 for failing to get permits -- Click Here to Read:  Fort Mill Times; Edenmoor Owes Taxes 2-27-08
  • Mulvaney's Secret Partner has now defaulted on their bonds for Edenmoor (no payments since June 2008)
  • Mulvaney's Secret Partner has also been sued by at least three contractors for non-payment for the roads, parks, and EMS station at Edenmoor (The Lancaster News 10-16-08; and The Fort Mill Times 5-19-09: Liens Delay Indian Land Park, EMS Station) (but these folks will have to get in line . . . a lot of other lawsuits against the secret partner were filed before these)
  • The mechanics liens on Edenmoor, totaling nearly $2.2 Million must be paid before the County can get the parks or EMS station -- who's gonna pay? Looks like Lancaster County will if they want their parks and EMS station! (The Lancaster News 10-16-08; and The Fort Mill Times 5-19-09: Liens Delay Indian Land Park, EMS Station)
  • Mulvaney's Secret Partner still owes about $26 Million on the bonds at Edenmoor
  • It was disclosed in The Charlotte Business Journal on September 12, 2008 that Mulvaney's Secret Partner, Sandler, is facing nearly $25 Million in mechanics liens filed against it for non-payment since May related to several North Carolina developments (Clt Biz Journal: Liens Pile up on Sandler)
  • Although Mulvaney was supposed to begin construction in November 2004, the property has been clear-cut and only about 50 houses sold (Mulvaney sold the timber for an essentially undisclosed amount, though there is a timber deed showing he received $100K for just under 300 acres of the trees)
  • The property was sold at tax sale and nobody wanted to buy it, so it is now owned by the County's Forfeited Land Commission with over $4Million in back taxes owed.  Over 800 acres have been removed form the tax roles -- adding to the burden of the rest of Lancaster County's property owners. (Not going to cost the County any money, eh Mick?)
  • Lancaster County has paid its bond attorneys $14K to research and explain the history of this transaction to them (hope this blog is helpful to you gentlemen . . .)
  • Lancaster County has begun condemnation proceedings on the property in an attempt to obtain the parks and EMS station Mulvaney promised us. 
Until the mechanics' liens are paid, No lots can be sold, and Lancaster County will not get the EMS Station, Sheriff's Substation, or the Parks they were promised. It looks like the County is on the hook.

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