A shadowy investment group labeled as “mysterious” is under investigation by government officials after the purchase of almost $1 billion in land near the sensitive Travis Air Force Base in California. Though it was denied, suspicions naturally turned toward Communist China.
The group, Flannery Associates, acquired almost 52,000 acres of prime agricultural land in the Golden State’s Solano County.
The Wall Street Journal revealed on Friday that officials have been digging into the organization for eight months without successfully identifying those bankrolling the deal.
‘Investors Bought Nearly $1 Billion in Land Near a California Air Force Base. Officials Want to Know Who Exactly They Are.’
— Ramona (@desderamona) July 7, 2023
Not surprisingly, a lawyer for Flannery Associates claimed the group is backed by U.S. citizens. They asserted that 97% of funding for the investment came from American citizens with the rest from British and Irish sources.
Solano County officials were told that the investors simply want to diversify from equity assets into western agricultural land.
The attorney told the WSJ that “any speculation that Flannery’s purchases are motivated by the proximity to Travis Air Force Base” is incorrect. But the local community is increasingly expressing security concerns over the purchase.
That assurance was also not enough for the Air Force’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Office, which is reportedly investigating the massive real estate purchase.
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, voiced his concern over the land transaction so near the military installation.
He noted the “extensive purchase” did not add up to area officials and the proximity to the military installation “raises significant questions.”
A local official, Solano County supervisor Mitch Mashburn, declared that Flannery has an interesting way of doing business if they intend to develop the land. He said no one from the group has engaged area authorities about plans for the vast acreage.
The WSJ revealed that the U.S. Agriculture Department is also concerned about Flannery’s acquisition of the tracts. Designated mostly for agriculture in unincorporated parts of the county, the properties feature several wind turbines.
The primary concern remains Travis Air Force Base.
Dubbed the “Gateway to the Pacific,” the facility houses the largest wing of the Air Force Air Mobility Command. It is crucial in the shipping of tens of billions in supplies and armaments to Ukraine for its war with Russia. It is also key for refueling military aircraft on the West Coast.