Dave Hobson, part time Congressman…..
…..full time real estate tycoon
(Part 2) Nextedge Development Corporation/Wellington Square
Last week, after exposing Dave Hobson’s profound conflicts of interest with TPI Composites and Midland Properties, OCGJ dug deeper into the Nextedge Development Corporation investigation. Bottom line up front: the Nextedge web is so wide and so deep we can’t begin to cover it in one post. To do this investigation justice we’ll need at least two, but let’s see where the facts take us.
In 2005 not-for-profit Nextedge Development Corporation purchased from Wellington Square 204 acres of farmland just east of Springfield. Nextedge paid around $4.7 million for the property, or about $23,000 per acre. In 2005 undeveloped farmland in Ohio was going for a little over $3,000 an acre – that may be a tidy profit of about $4 million on a deal largely sold and financed with tax abatements, publicly funded infrastructure and earmarks sponsored by U.S. Congressman Dave Hobson and State Senator Steve Austria. OCGJ’s concern is that this was not an “arms-length” transaction because Nextedge and Wellington Square were both wholly owned subsidiaries of the non-profit Turner Foundation in Springfield. To make a long story short, the Turner Foundation bought the Nextedge property from itself. Dave Hobson has at least one relevant conflict of interest with Nextedge…..remember Midland Properties…..Tom Loftis was both president of the Nextedge Board of Directors and founder and owner of Midland Properties which was knee-deep in the TPI Composites scam. “In Local firms break job promises,” written by Everdeen Mason for the Dayton Daily News in January, 2012, Hobson was quoted, “It is a leap of faith. Many times when you do these (agreements), you don’t know what will happen economically or with leadership.” That’s true enough, but more often than not in these public-private partnerships, it’s the taxpayers that shoulder the risk and financial loss while the political class walks away with ill-gotten gains, transaction costs and legal fees.
Although the political class could tell us where those millions of dollars found a home, that’s a secret they aren’t about to give up, but what we do know is that Nextedge and Wellington Square have pretty much disintegrated since 2005. Here are the latest Nextedge tax returns that reveal Nextedge assets went from over $4 million in 2010 to $16 in 2011. That probably happened when Nextedge walked away from their loan payments on the Nextedge property, but the real news is that Nextedge tax returns from 2005-2009 have been purged from this record. Those returns would show six-figure salaries to Hobson insiders like Ray Hagerman who seem to be front and center when tax dollars are laundered from the citizens to the political class, but melt into the woodwork when the deals go south. Of course we can’t put a face on the losers in the Nextedge deal, but we have an unobstructed view of many of the winners as they can be identified by this list of contributors to Steve Austria’s 2008 campaign for congress. OCGJ’s next post will take a closer look into a few of those on this list who laughed all the way to the bank, but now have retreated to the shadows hoping the Nextedge deal fades away into obscurity.