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Shenanigans At The PSPRS Pension Part Deux

http://www.pionline.com/article/20140623/PRINT/140629975/dust-up-in-the-desert

On this very day, one year ago…

The  #$%! Up In The Desert was made public.

                                            – Pensioners First

Dust-up in the desert

Arizona public safety fund is still grappling with a controversy over some real estate investments

Staff and board members of the underfunded $7.9 billion Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, Phoenix, continue to deal with fallout from questions about real estate valuations and legal matters involving former staff members who questioned those valuations.

Three portfolio managers, as well as the pension fund’s chief investment counsel, resigned between June and October 2013 over valuation of some of the properties in portfolios managed by Desert Troon Cos., Scottsdale, Ariz.

The FBI has interviewed at least two of the former portfolio managers, asking whether senior management had inflated the value of real estate managed in a joint venture between the pension fund and Desert Troon.

Mark Selfridge, a former portfolio manager, said in an interview with Pensions & Investments that FBI agents questioned him about the valuation issues. Anton Orlich, another former portfolio manager, testified in a deposition taken by the pension fund that he, too, was questioned by the FBI.

James Hacking, the pension fund’s administrator, said in a letter to P&I that the valuations used by PSPRS senior management — Chief Investment Officer Ryan Parham, Deputy CIO Marty Anderson and Mr. Hacking — for the Desert Troon portfolios “were reasonable” and “most accurately reflected” the underlying value of the real estate properties.

One month after this article was published, Administrator James Hacking was fired for lying to the Governor about suspended bonuses and hidden pay raises that were a direct result of these employee resignations.

                                                                                                               – Pensioners First

A federal grand jury has subpoenaed PSPRS for documents in connection with the FBI investigation.

The pension fund is suing Mr. Orlich, alleging he improperly took fund documents with him when he resigned. Mr. Orlich insists he had permission to take the documents. In addition, Desert Troon filed suit against the four people who resigned from PSPRS, alleging they made false statements to the media, including P&I, defaming the firm and senior officials at the pension fund.

One thing is certain: PSPRS won’t be entering into any other relationships structured like the joint venture with Desert Troon. Pension trustees voted earlier this year to prohibit PSPRS from investing in any new “joint venture real estate investments.”

Despite repeated written requests and phone calls, Desert Troon CEO Daniel Smith did not comment for this article.

The relationship

PSPRS and Desert Troon formed at least two real estate ventures that remain active today, part of a real estate investment program that Mr. Hacking said in an April 22 letter ”reflected PSPRS’ commitment to investment in the Arizona community.”

The first is DTR1 LLC, which Mr. Hacking said was formed in the mid-1990s. This is the joint venture that Messrs. Selfridge and Orlich said the FBI asked them about.

PSPRS owns between 85% and 100% of each property in the DTR1 portfolio; Desert Troon owns the remainder and manages all of it. The joint venture also contains what Mr. Hacking called “the majority of the … assets” that another real estate money manager, The Pivotal Group, had managed for the pension fund; Pivotal was terminated in 2009.

The second company, DTR1C LLC, was formed in 2009 as a wholly owned subsidiary of PSPRS, the assets of which are managed by Desert Troon. It was formed to assemble, reposition and sell distressed properties; the pension fund is the sole investor. The portfolio includes properties that had been managed by Apex Capital Management which, like Pivotal, had been hurtby the collapse of the real estate market and had poor performance.

The pension fund terminated Apex in 2011 and transferred about $30 million in properties managed by Apex to DTR1C in early 2012. The properties in DTR1C are 100% owned by the pension fund. DTR1C also contains some properties in which Desert Troon gave up its minority interest after the pension fund paid down debt on them, minutes from PSPRS board meetings show.

The assets managed by Desert Troon in both portfolios represented 55.08% of PSPRS’ overall real estate portfolio at the end of fiscal 2008. That dropped to 36.6% at the end of last year.

Overall, PSPRS has made capital commitments and/or investments of more than $550 million with Desert Troon during the 18-year relationship.

Desert Troon manages almost 4.7% of the pension fund’s total assets, according to PSPRS’ June 30, 2013, financial statement.

A report from Bank of New York Mellon (BK) Corp. (BK), the pension fund’s custodian, showed PSPRS’ investments with Desert Troon returned an annualized -6% net of fees on a time-weighted basis for the five-year period ended June 30, 2013. The NCREIF Property index returned an annualized 2.79% for the same period.

Mr. Hacking confirmed the pension fund uses the NCREIF index as a benchmark. But he said for accounting reasons, comparing the returns of DTR1 and DTR1C to that index “will result in material distortions and inaccuracies. Simply put, it is not an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison.”

Most recent publicized public reports for Desert Troon’s investment performance

• -16.4% One-year performance
• -3.1% Three-year performance
• -4.7% Five –year performance

There appears to be an over-weighting of the real estate portfolio in Desert Troon while the portfolio itself has been consistently underperforming over the past five years.  Regardless, it does appear that the relationship will need to change so that PSPRS can diversify its real estate portfolio and not have its returns so closely tied to a single company.

       http://www.PSPRS.info (PSPRS Pension Watch blog)

Valuation

The value of the two portfolios Desert Troon managed led to a dispute in 2013 over whether Messrs. Parham and Hacking had used the appropriate appraisal methods during the previous four years.

The three former PSPRS portfolio managers — Messrs. Selfridge, Orlich and Paul Corens — and former Chief Investment Counsel Andrew Carriker cited the valuation dispute as a reason for their resignations.

Mr. Hacking acknowledged to P&I that the four men had disputed the valuation and “resigned, ostensibly over this issue.”

The controversy came to light last year after Messrs. Orlich and Carriker began questioning how PSPRS was valuing the Desert Troon portfolios.

The roots of the valuation dispute go back to 2009. That’s when the pension fund began using a market value for all appraisals. The purpose was to provide “meaningful insight into the value of (the pension fund’s) investments” and “specific asset values” in the preparation of PSPRS’ financial statements, Mr. Hacking said in a letter to P&I. (Until then, a cost basis — what it cost to acquire a property — was used.)

But in 2010, Messrs. Hacking and Parham discarded the market-value-based appraisal process. They agreed to Desert Troon’s request that the pension fund use an investment-value-based approach.

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board requires public pension funds’ real estate holdings to be appraised at market value, using factors such as comparable sales or an income approach using discounted cash flow analysis, said William Holder, a former GASB board member and dean of the Leventhal School of Accounting at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He is not involved in the PSPRS matter.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, Desert Troon valued the real estate it managed for the Arizona pension fund using investment value, “to reflect what it fully expected those assets would sell for in the future as the real estate markets revive, especially here in Arizona,” Mr. Hacking said in a July 2013 letter to Arizona Auditor General Debra K. Davenport, requesting that her office evaluate Desert Troon’s valuation methods.

He said Desert Troon used the income approach to analyze future cash flows from the properties, the same method used by independent appraiser Ernst & Young LLC.

But they used different discount rates.

While the auditor general said Desert Troon used a 5% discount rate for lifestyle and retail properties, which were the bulk of the portfolios, discount rates of 7.75% to 20.5% were used for commercial properties.

Ernst & Young, however, appraised every property using discount rates of 7.75% to 20.5%.

The auditor general said the 5% discount rate Desert Troon used for lifestyle and retail properties “may not be consistent with accounting standards.” But the auditor general also said the discount rates used for the commercial properties were ones “market participants would use,” and were appropriate.

As a result, Desert Troon’s appraisals for the year ended June 30, 2012, totaled $303.5 million; Ernst & Young’s appraisals totaled $213.6 million.

Desert Troon’s valuation was used in the pension fund’s financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2012, which led to a dispute the following year among PSPRS investment staff as to what discount rate to use. That disagreement ultimately led to the resignation of the three portfolio managers and the chief counsel.

Mr. Holder said the 5% discount rate was too low to reflect the market value of real estate, as required by the GASB. He said investors in real estate generally use at least 12% to 15% to reflect the speculative nature of real estate investments. He said 5% would be closer to a risk-free rate.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, Ernst & Young’s valuation was about $82 million less than the approximately $344 million Desert Troon had reported.

Mr. Hacking told P&I that using a market-based valuation would have understated the value of the Desert Troon portfolio by as much as $151 million combined in the two fiscal years ended June 30, 2013.

Valuation issues also surfaced in earlier years. In 2007, the joint venture with Desert Troon purchased Superstition Gateway, a shopping complex in Mesa, Ariz., and tracts of vacant land in other parts of metropolitan Phoenix.

In 2010, the pension fund hired CBRE Group Inc. to appraise the shopping center and land, using PSPRS’ new market-value appraisal policy, Christa Severns, the pension fund’s former external spokeswoman, has said.

Based on the appraisal by CBRE, the pension fund’s entire equity investment of $64.4 million in Superstition Gateway would have to be written down, according to a June 18, 2010, e-mail to Mr. Corens from Desert Troon CFO Daniel Hammons,who questioned the appraisals.

“These values seem criminal,” Mr. Hammons wrote.

That e-mail also said that based on the CBRE appraisal, the pension fund’s entire $31.7 million investment in Terra Verde, a partially completed office park in Scottsdale, would be wiped out.

In an e-mail to P&I, Ms. Severns said pension fund and Desert Troon executives were concerned that the market-based appraisals might have “produced ‘fire sale’ values that would have wiped out the (pension) system’s and DTC’s equity interests in some of those properties.”

“The resulting values could have arguably violated the loan covenants and potentially caused lenders to issue technical loan defaults or at the very least demand principal reductions,” she wrote.

Ms. Severns said after seeing market-based appraisals that showed a severe decline in property values, Desert Troon executives requested the pension fund use the investment-value approach for its joint-venture portfolio.

She said PSPRS’ CIO Mr. Parham then arranged a meeting in the summer of 2010 between Desert Troon and CBRE group officials and both agreed an investment-based methodology should be used to value the properties. And it was.

Mr. Hacking said in his July 2013 letter to the state auditor general that Desert Troon officials had argued in 2010 that it would be unreasonable to report then-current market values for the joint venture, DTR1, since those properties were not going to be sold immediately and could be sold at substantially higher prices in the future.

The properties were ultimately reappraised higher, using investment value, as requested by Desert Troon. The properties — including Superstition Gateway and Terra Verde — were written down by approximately $50 million in 2011.

A 2010 appraisal that valued the properties at about $100 million less using market value was never used. Indeed, for the five fiscal years between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2013, PSPRS used investment value in appraisals.

In a formal report to the pension fund’s board, Mr. Carriker, the chief investment counsel, contested those valuations. But the board adopted a report signed by Mr. Hacking and PSPRS’ outside fiduciary counsel Marc Lieberman that said the use of investment value calculations was proper.

Last November, the auditor general responded to Mr. Hacking’s July 2013 letter regarding the asset valuation methods, saying the pension fund must adhere to GASB rules of using fair, or market, value.

However, in another section of its report, the auditor general said for the properties in the joint venture, investment value can be used. It said PSPRS, as an investor in the entity that owns the real estate, doesn’t value its investments based on the appraisals but rather on values provided by Desert Troon under the joint venture’s operating agreement.

Because of that scenario, the auditor general quotes generally accepted accounting principles as allowing Desert Troon to estimate the value of PSPRS’ ownership interest. The pension fund used that number.

Mr. Holder, the USC dean, disagreed that PSPRS could report investment value for the Desert Troon joint venture portfolio. He said regardless of whether joint venture real estate assets can be sold at the time they are appraised, the GASB requires public pension funds to list real estate at fair, or market, value.

Timing

PSPRS mainly made direct real estate investments with several firms between 1990 and 2008 as the pension fund expanded its investments in Arizona strip shopping centers, office buildings, residential development and vacant land.

Most of the direct real estate investments were in the Phoenix area.

Concentrating investment in one area can be risky because a pension plan could expose itself to the vagaries of that market, said Robert Heinkel, a professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and co-author of the book, “The Role of Real Estate in a Pension Portfolio.”

While Mr. Heinkel isn’t familiar with the Arizona pension fund, he commented: “It’s real obvious that you want to diversify not just in real estate investments, but any investments. It’s dangerous not to do so.”

When Mr. Parham became CIO on May 27, 2009, the Arizona and Southwest real estate markets had collapsed, which meant such investments the pension plan made had already soured. Pension officials began publicly acknowledging problems in the real estate portfolio that year, board and investment committee meeting minutes show.

Problems with some properties emerged when the pension fund was called on to help Desert Troon repay debt from property investments for both portfolios.

Minutes of a January 2010 PSPRS investment committee meeting show Desert Troon was facing demands from bank lenders requiring immediate repayment of debt on properties, first in the joint venture (DTR1) and later in both portfolios.

When asked how much pension fund money was used to pay down debt on properties managed by Desert Troon, Mr. Hacking said in an e-mail: “We cannot say without research … but we have confirmed that since 2009, (PSPRS) has contributed $93 million to DTR1 and $76 million to DTR1C.“

In some cases, PSPRS was forced to repay the debt because it had guaranteed it would make payments if the joint venture — DTR1 — could not.

The pension fund’s pledge enabled the PSPRS Desert Troon joint venture to get a lower interest rate on loans, according to minutes from a PSPRS board meeting on Nov. 30, 2011.

“The decision to enter into recourse (debt) was made when debt was cheap for joint ventures and the market was doing well, in order to save money,” Don Stracke, a consultant from the pension fund’s general consultant NEPC LLC, was quoted in the minutes as saying. “The situation that has occurred was not foreseen and today we would never agree to recourse debt.”

Mr. Hacking said in a posting on the fund’s website in August 2013 that Desert Troon had done an excellent job managing depressed real estate assets back to health. He cited more than $37 million in real estate sales at that time, two to three times their value in December 2007, he said. He didn’t say how many properties were sold.

Mr. Hacking has said the pension fund intends to sell the properties managed by Desert Troon when the market recovers. For now, most of the properties in the two Desert Troon-managed portfolios remain unsold.

Desert Troon earns fees from PSPRS as its real estate manager, operating partner, developer and property manager as well as when properties are sold. The pension fund paid Desert Troon $12 million in fees in 2012, according to a report compiled by ORG Portfolio Management, the pension fund’s real estate investment consultant. The report concluded the fees were appropriate.

Performance monitoring

The valuation dispute is just one issue raised by the former employees. They also questioned the lack of quarterly reporting by Desert Troon about investment performance of the portfolios the company manages for the pension fund.

As the Arizona fund’s allocations to Desert Troon increased, PSPRS’ oversight of the manager did not keep up with Desert Troon’s expanding role, said Mr. Corens, who was real estate manager from 2006 to 2010.

Messrs. Corens and Selfridge said in separate interviews that Desert Troon failed to provide quarterly financial reports, which real estate investment consultants say are an industry standard.

The two former PSPRS employees said that while Desert Troon did provide annual performance reporting, that reporting generally was limited to only aggregate data on the overall Desert Troon portfolio. That, they said, made it difficult for the PSPRS staff to determine what pieces of the portfolio were performing well and which were underperforming.

Mr. Hacking in his e-mailed answers to questions, said Desert Troon “has always complied, and continues to comply, with all of its financial reporting obligations under the DTR1 Operating Agreement and the DTR1C Management Agreement.”

This article originally appeared in the June 23, 2014 print issue as, “Dust-up in the desert”.

LINK: Desert Troon Potentially Linked to Scam In Norway (Dagens Næringsliv report)

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Desert Troon Caught Unaware On Marana Real Estate Investment

http://tucsonlocalmedia.com/marana/article_cfdb35fe-f35f-11e4-af2c-d758ec32082d.html

When you’re in Phoenix things get dropped between the cracks

See original article written by Marana News May 6, 2015

Story Highlights

  • Attorney admits Desert Troon was completely unaware of changes affecting its Marana real estate investment
  • The proposed changes were discussed in a council study session and were brought before the Marana Planning Commission
  • Developer threatens a lawsuit
  • One of the largest anchor tenants, Wal-Mart, threatens to pull out of proposed development
  • “We’ve been talking about if for a long time,” said Mayor Ed Honea. “It was posted on our website for our Planning Commission for all the world to see.”
  • “When you’re in Phoenix things get dropped between the cracks,” noted Councilman Herb Kai
  • Council Member Roxanne Ziegler voiced her displeasure with the developer’s lawyer

When a council holds a public hearing about a tax increase and a proposal to make a roadway safer, the tax increase usually attracts more residents who speak out against it. That was not the case last week during a Marana Town Council special session.

Besides a sales tax increase, the council also discussed changes to the Marana General Plan that drew criticism over a plan that would establish Tangerine Road as a primary connection to the Marana Road interchange.

The council voted 7-0 to approve a temporary half-cent sales tax to fund the construction of the new police station. The tax will conclude as soon as the funding for the construction is done. The estimates are 3-4 years.

“I am thrilled to death,” said Mayor Ed Honea after the meeting. “One of the biggest assets we have in this community is our policing.”

The sales tax is expected to begin July 1.

The only person choosing to speak was Marana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ed

Stolmaker, who was reiterating his organization’s support for the plan. 

The town and council expected little, if any, opposition to the plan. Before presenting the plan, Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema was required to hold several informational meetings and open houses to discuss the need for the new police station. By the time the police department presented the idea to the council, it was fairly well known that the plan had the support of the public and local business leaders. 

Honea’s own research backed up those claims. 

“Everybody signed off,” said Honea. “Simon Mall, Home Depot, Lowes, Costco. They said ‘you bet, we love having the police.’”

With the passing of the sales tax increase, the town can also begin the process of selecting a construction project manager, which they would like to do before the end of July. 

The council passed a resolution to adopt minor amendments to the transportation element of the Marana General Plan. The resolution passed 6-1, but was not without controversy, mostly related to the portion of the plan that would establish Tangerine Farms Road as the primary connection to the Marana Road interchange.

Lawyers representing the Uptown at Marana Project and the Marana Mercantile Project, owned by the Cardon Group and Desert Troon respectively, asked the council for a continuance before voting on the plan. The two developers have worked with the town on a 117-acre development on Marana Road, west of I-10.

Although the development would still be visible from Interstate 10, the developer is not happy that there would not be direct access from the freeway and felt that the changes threatened the feasibility of the project.

The Phoenix-based developers claimed they were unaware that the proposal, which was first discussed with them in 2013, was being considered at the time. The proposed changes were discussed in a council study session and were brought before the Marana Planning Commission, and were also discussed during presentations about the Marana Main Street.

“Our clients were completely unaware that the process had taken place and never had an opportunity to weigh in on this proposal,” said Adam Trenk of the Rose Law Group.

Trenk said that the projects were in jeopardy because the traffic to support those projects may not longer be there because traffic off of I-10 would be diverted down Tangerine Farms Road and not Marana Road. 

Trenk submitted a letter from Wal-Mart that said they would not be interested in the location because of the proposed changes. Trenk also reminded the council that there were agreements for the developers to pay for infrastructure improvements, but those agreements would become void if the roadway was changed. 

Council Member Roxanne Ziegler voiced her displeasure with Trenk.

“When you threaten us in your letters with a lawsuit, it tends to come off a little disingenuous,” she said. “What I am trying to say is your client is not going to suffer. That is a huge area that is going to grow and other things are going to go in there.”

After the meeting Honea noted that the Wal-Mart on Cortaro does not have direct freeway access and to enter the shopping center shoppers either need to go up half a mile and turn left at the light, or turn left across traffic, yet the store is the second-busiest Wal-Mart in the state. 

“If someone sees a Wal-Mart and wants to get to it, it’s not going to worry them to go down a quarter mile and make a right turn,” noted Honea.

Marana resident Sharise Steffens said that she was unaware of the proposed changes and questioned the transparency of the council, but admitted she was unaware of the past council meetings or the planning commission meeting. 

“We’ve been talking about if for a long time,” said Honea. “It was posted on our website for our Planning Commission for all the world to see and all the development people we deal with keep an eye on that thing to see what is going on. No one was trying to sneak anything.”

Councilman Herb Kai was the lone dissenting vote, questioning whether the town made the correct efforts to contact all affected parties. Although he did not believe the town did anything improper, he did think maybe direct contact with the Phoenix-based developers would have been a good idea

“When you’re in Phoenix things get dropped between the cracks,” noted Kai. “I think the town should reach out and say ‘we’re restarting this thing over again and you guys should come down and talk to us.’”

Kai said he voted against it because he wanted to explore options with all the parties involved, not because he had issues with the plan itself. 

Two others, a representative of a different development group and a local business owner, both spoke out in favor of the plan. Mitch Stallard represented Desert Heritage Partners, who also own land in the area, while Kent Crotts is a business owner on Sandario Road who feels the plan helps keep Sandario a viable business center and better connects it to other roadways where development will spring up.

For Honea, the changes were not only good for local businesses, but also a matter of safety. The Marana Interchange, as it is currently aligned, sees freeway access convene in a confusing manner with Sandario, the frontage road and Marana Road. 

“The biggest issue we have is that Marana Road is a deathtrap,” she said. “Marana Road, Sandario Road, the freeway and tons of traffic coming out of the valley and everything else, we had to make a change.”

The plan will also make changes in the right of way distance on Tangerine, remove plans for the Tangerine interchange to be moved and adjust right of way distances in areas deemed environmentally sensitive, mostly in the Tortolita fan.

Roads And Returns Pass By Desert Troon’s Marana Investment: Threaten To Sue

http://tucson.com/news/local/developers-object-to-proposed-change-to-marana-road/article_95c00d9a-d59f-57f9-b9b7-3822ff5fc942.html http://tucson.com/news/business/marana-road-plan-jeopardizes-major-shopping-development/article_41b6cd64-1d30-542b-a11b-428c8ab90430.html

Marana Road plan jeopardizes major shopping development land owned by Desert Troon and the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System pension

Story Highlights:

  • A change to the alignment of an old farm road has two developers in northwest Marana considering legal options.
  • The Marana Town Council approved a realignment plan that would eventually route traffic along Marana Road away from Desert Troon’s proprty, just west of Interstate 10.
  • Attorney Jordan Rose, Desert Troon’s and/ or Cardon’s counsel, says Desert Troon and/ or Cardon has considered suing the Town of Marana if the town moves forward with realignment.
  • In a letter to the Town Council, Rose wrote: “We are hopeful that we will be able to work together to find a solution that achieves the town’s goals while not damaging current partners’ investment in the community.”
  • Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler said immediately after the vote she felt bullied by letters from the developers threatening legal action. “It is a little bit disingenuous to threaten us with this and that,” Ziegler said.

Bully 2Tucson.com – April 29, 2015

Developers are threatening to scrap plans for a regional shopping center on Marana’s northwest side over the alignment of a road near Interstate 10. A Marana Town Council vote on Tuesday could eventually cost the town millions of dollars, between lost sales tax revenues if plans for the development do not move forward, and the forfeiting of developer contributions to the road’s improvement even if the center is built. The 117-acre mixed-use development would be along the north side of Marana Road just west of Interstate 10, on land owned by the Cardon Group and Desert Troon. Six members of the council — with only Councilman Herb Kai dissenting — opted to realign a much-widened Marana Road so traffic coming off the Interstate 10 interchange would curve well to the south of where the existing two-lane Marana Road now runs, shifting it away from the planned shopping center. Town officials say the new realignment would put more traffic along Tangerine Farms Road, linking traffic directly to the Gladden Farms residential development and the town’s Heritage River Park. Marana Unified School District also has plans to build a new high school and a performance center off Tangerine Farms Road. Adam Trenk, an attorney representing the Cardon Group, one of the developers, said he was extremely disappointed with the town council’s decision. “The viability of these projects will suffer,” Trenk predicted. The developers have had an agreement with Marana for more than five years to help pay to widen the road to handle more than 55,000 trips a day that would be generated by the new shopping center, in anticipation the road would follow the existing alignment next to their property. Trenk said pre-existing legal agreements reached with the town to pay for road improvements and giving right-of-way for utilities were likely voided by Tuesday’s decision. Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler said immediately after the vote she felt bullied by letters from the developers threatening legal action. “It is a little bit disingenuous to threaten us with this and that,” Ziegler said. She said the town has a good track record of working with the business community and developers. Mentioning Walmart as a potential tenant in the proposed retail center, she said the site is well placed for future growth in northwest Marana. If they build supermarkets or big box stores, she said, residents will flock to the location. A developer clarified during the meeting that no big box retailers have yet signed contracts to locate in the proposed center. Marana Mayor Ed Honea said the town could not afford to delay a decision on the realignment, noting the town has discussed these plans on the books for nearly two years. Honea said the town also has an urgent need to address nearby traffic problems near the Marana Road exit, where there have been several accidents close to a McDonald’s. The mayor said the town could break ground as early as July but the council needs to finalize the plans so the construction this summer will fit into long-range plans.

Troon’s Chairman Disputes Any Links Between Usury Investigation and Phoenix’s Desert Troon Real Estate Group

Article published by https://sports.vice.com/

December 19, 2014 | Brian Blickenstaff

https://sports.vice.com/article/american-soccer-stars-father-accused-of-running-multimillion-dollar-scam-in-norway

Article Summary:

  • American Soccer Star’s Father Accused of Running Multimillion Dollar Scam in Norway

  • Desert Troon Companies’ Chairman, Tore Christian Diskerud, is soccer star Mix Diskerud’s grandfather
  • Mix Diskerud, the U.S. national team midfielder, is reportedly close to signing for Club Tijuana of Mexico’s Liga MX
  • The most recent round of negotiations broke down when his dad Paul, who is also his agent, demanded a last-second pay hike
  • In Norway, Paul Diskerud is under investigation by the Finanstilsynet (The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway) under penal code §295, which forbids usury. Usury is fancy speak for loan sharking. Diskerud is alleged to be one of Norways biggest loan sharks, accused of screwing people out of millions of dollars through illegal, unregulated loans that carry interest rates as high as 133 percent.
  • Mix and his American mother [Charlot Diskerud Malin of Troon Pacific] aren’t Paul’s only connection to the United States
  • [Paul Diskerud’s] main company, Jonatan, was linked through letterhead to the Desert Troon Group, a property development company formed and chaired by Mix’s grandfather, the real estate mogul Tore Christian Diskerud, and based in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Some of Paul’s funny loans in Norway were apparently carried out in Tore’s name.
  • In Norway, Paul Diskerud is under investigation by the Finanstilsynet (The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway) under penal code §295, which forbids usury. Usury is fancy speak for loan sharking.
  • The Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) is a major investor with the Desert Troon Companies, to the tune of something like $300 million (more about Desert Troon’s investment performance).

Mix Diskerud, the U.S. national team midfielder, is reportedly close to signing for Club Tijuana of Mexico’s Liga MX, where he’d join fellow U.S. internationals Joe Corona and Greg Garza. [Update: ESPN spoke with Diskerud. He said he will not be signing with a Mexican team.] Diskerud’s contract with his current club, Norway’s Rosenborg, is over at the end of the month, and he’s free to sign wherever he wants. If he ends up south of the border, it’d be an interesting move for the Norwegian-American. Over the last couple of years, he’s taken a hard look at MLS and balked twice. The most recent round of negotiations broke down when his dad Paul, who is also his agent, demanded a last-second pay hike. One wonders what kind of money the Xolos are throwing at Diskerud. It must be a pretty good deal. As MLS discovered, Paul is no novice negotiator, and he’s certainly not afraid to squeeze people out of a couple bucks.

In Norway, Paul Diskerud is under investigation by the Finanstilsynet (The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway) under penal code §295, which forbids usury. Usury is fancy speak for loan sharking. Diskerud is alleged to be one of Norways biggest loan sharks, accused of screwing people out of millions of dollars through illegal, unregulated loans that carry interest rates as high as 133 percent.

The Finanstilsynet investigation comes in the wake of a bombshell, 8,000-word report published in November by Norwegian journalists Knut Gjernes and Gøran Skaalmo in the financial magazine Dagens Næringsliv. (Dagens Næringsliv was one of the organizations that published Wikileaks documents in 2010.)

As described by Gjernes and Skaalmo, Diskerud’s alleged loan sharking works in a number of different ways, but his modus operandi goes something like this: somebody needs quick money, to pay for their home, say, or to save their business—it could be anything. But they need it now, faster than they can get it from a bank, what with all the paperwork and bureaucracy. Diskerud is reportedly the kind of dude who can produce lots of money, millions of dollars, fast. Because he’s not a licensed lender in Norway, the loan deals aren’t classic repayment schemes; they’re hidden behind fake transactions or intermediaries—and they’re illegal. In some cases, he’s accused of taking houses for collateral; in others, he’s accepted valuable works of art or company stock. Often, the collateral is “purchased” at low valuation with an agreement to buy it back later at a much higher price.

That’s what happened to Stein Enqvist, who claims he sold his home to Diskerud for seven million Kroner in 2005 (about $1.08 million in 2005 Dollars) with an agreement to repurchase it in two years for 9.4 million (about $1.46 million 2005 Dollars). In the meantime, Enqvist was allowed to continue living on the property. But when Enqvist got the money together to repay the loan, Diskerud—who has no registered, fixed address in Norway—was nowhere to be found. In January, 2008, bailiffs showed up at Enqvist’s door and evicted him. The Dagens Næringsliv report is full of such allegations.

Interestingly, Mix and his American mother aren’t Paul’s only connection to the United States. His main company, Jonatan, was linked through letterhead to the Desert Troon Group, a property development company formed and chaired by Mix’s grandfather, the real estate mogul Tore Christian Diskerud, and based in Phoenix, Arizona. (In a response to the Dagens Næringsliv story, Tore’s lawyers disputed any link between Jonatan and the Desert Troon Group.) Some of Paul’s funny loans in Norway were apparently carried out in Tore’s name.

Skaalmo, one of the two journalists responsible for the bombshell report, told VICE Sports by phone that, in Norway, the story received “a tremendous public response.” Most loan sharks are “criminals, muscle boys,” he said, “but [Paul Diskerud] stood out, because he came from a wealthy background. No criminal record that we know of.” To Skaalmo’s knowledge, Diskerud has never been successfully sued for his shady business dealings.

In Tijuana, Mix would likely be a star, a great help to his teammates on the field. But wherever he ends up, you can bet he’ll get a favorable deal. When it comes to negotiating contracts, the Diskeruds do not fuck around. 

Pensioners First doesn’t make the news, we just copy it… bad language and all.

 

AZ Taxpayers Absorb Defense Costs For “Unusual” Desert Troon Lawsuit

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/investigations/2014/11/18/taxpayers-absorb-legal-tab-ex-pension-staffers/19231869/

Taxpayers absorb legal tab for 4 ex-pension staffers

Craig Harris, The Republic | azcentral.com November 18, 2014

Desert Troon’s Diskerud Family: Shadowy Lenders

According to multiple published articles in Norway’s largest business newspaper, Desert Troon’s founders, the Norwegian Diskerud family, is allegedly associated with what appears to be reports of loan sharking, usury, and shadow lending in Europe.

PREVIOUS POST:  Desert Troon’s Chairman Associated With International Loan Sharking

Updated Summary:

  • The Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) is a major investor with the Desert Troon Companies, to the tune of something like $300 million (more about Desert Troon’s investment performance).
  • Tore Christian Diskerud is the Chairman and apparently the founder of the Desert Troon Companies.
  • Tore Diskerud, Pal Diskerude, and mysterious entities named Unius, LLC (a Delaware limited liability company) and the Jonathan company (and possibly San Francisco-based Troon Pacific) are allegedly associated with unregulated and possibly illegal loan sharking (usury) in Europe.
  • According to Dagens Næringsliv, Norway’s largest business newspaper:
    • The Jonathan company is usury lender Pal Diskerud’s main company.
    • The Jonathan company is also a “member of the Desert Troon Group” – a US real estate group belonging Tore Christian Diskerud (76), Pål Diskerud’s  father.
    • Pål Diskerud operated in the shadow lending market on his father’s behalf.
  • Unius LLC is one of the many entities associated with Desert Troon’s  and Arizona PSPRS’ joint-venture “DTR-1” real estate holding company (see the Arizona Corporate Commission and PSPRS’ public meeting minutes).
  • The FSA or Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) is investigating for potential illegal activity.

The following article(s) was published in Norwegian, but was translated by Google Translate.  Let’s see how good Google really is…

http://www.dn.no/magasinet/2014/11/07/2202/Dokumentar/lnehaien

and

http://diskerud.wordpress.com/author/diskerud/

About Pål Diskerud – loan shark

 

From a penthouse apartment on Tjuvholmen serve asylum investor and football agent Paul Diskerud in the big bucks on controversial lending in the unregulated market. A retiree in need of care and an elderly woman is in danger of losing their homes to Diskerud.

Loop Vika, a quiet and peaceful idyll next Papperhavn the Whales. Inger Marie Haraldsen is on the terrace and look out over the property she has lost.

– It would only be a loan, but he has taken from me the property, she said.

Now she lives on borrowed time in the house her father built and son would inherit. On the neighboring property is the house she built for her mother – and that she hoped her daughter would take over – empty, with dark windows.

It is ten years since Inger Marie Haraldsen took the fateful phone.

– I called Paul Diskerud when I got in trouble. He knew my father and could lend me the money to finish the house to my mom, she says.

During the construction dead mother. Money ran out.

– He waited until I was completely on the rim. In the last hour. Then he demanded that I had to write over both houses of him if I wanted to borrow money. So would I buy it back when I paid back the loan. I got ten years on me.

In desperation, she signed documents that transferred the family property to Pål Diskerud. Now it’s almost been ten years and the hourglass is about to run out. The properties of Whales is worth at least four million. Diskerud has taken both as collateral for a loan of 500,000 crowns.

Inger Marie Haraldsen will buy the house back. She has called and sent messages. She has sent registered letters, which always comes back. She approached Diskerud in Oslo, asked him to sort out. Say what they owe him. Without fail.

– I’m so scared. I realize now that he’s going to let the deadline go out. He will take the houses from us. I do not know what to do. They are all we have.

She feels alone. There is not she.


AGENT AND BUSINESS MAN

Pål Diskerud (53) moves around in Oslo as a shadow. He does not take the phone. Responding by email. The National Registry is he registered as “no fixed abode”. Officially he is a private investor and businessman with a number of companies, he is football agent son Mikkel “Mix” Diskerud and he owns and operates a reception center several locations in southern Norway.

The companies he owns, registered in Elisenbergveien 5 at Frogner in Oslo. The mailbox is more of Diskerud companies listed Jonatan as, Phoenix Holding and Ice Greedy. Diskerud owns three apartments in this apartment building, but do not live in any of them. And nowhere is there anything about officious he engaged in the loan market.

Diskerud has earned millions of dollars on gråmarkedslån [shadow lending] in the past 20 years. The tools are clever contracts, aides, useful lawyers and mortgage on real estate and art. Money is handed over in the form of bank drafts and cash. A few years back caused Diskerud business heads in a bank in Oslo. Diskerud bought a bank draft of 500,000 kroner. The bank sent a money laundering report, but nothing happened. The bank gave him the money would be used for art purchases.

In equation lists are Pål Diskerud with zero income.


A SAD STORY

Stein Enqvist (60) strolling around the large property he once owned in Voksenkollen in Oslo. The black mix dog Tito sniffs at his heels. The property, Pål Diskerud took over several years ago, was once valued at 23 million dollars. Now grow the grass in the driveway. The house stands empty for eight years. By contrast, King’s Cabin on the other side of the road.

– My wife can not bear to go up here. She is devastated, depressed, he says.

Uplightsene in the driveway is overgrown, the pool in the basement has been full of water for years, and green algae growth. On fine days could Stein Enqvist earlier sit on the terrace and watch Nesoddbåten add. On the right fine day, he could see all the way to Bolærne outer Oslo Fjord. Now only the dense forest to see.

Enqvist open an unlocked cellar door and peeks into the basement that was once his. Water flows from pieces of frozen pipes. Rot has set in the walls.

– The only reason Paul Diskerud have let this lapse so, is that he should be allowed to demolish and then build townhouses or something, says Enqvist.

The story began in 2005. Stein Enqvist hit a wall and went into a depression. Attorney practice his stalled, and the family had difficulty dealing with debt. Enqvist to prevent the house went on foreclosures. Through an acquaintance, he came into contact with Paul Diskerud, who was willing to lend him a major figure in the millions in a few years.

The loan was disguised by Diskerud bought the property seven million, while Enqvist got a right to buy the property back by 9.4 million two years later. In this way, both the loan and the interest rates of nearly 100 percent per annum hidden. In the meantime, Enqvist and family to live there as before.

It did not work.

– When I bought the house back, did Paul Diskerud out of reach. I was notified in advance that I would use my right-back. I had a loan commitment from the bank. But I could simply not get him. Suddenly I received a letter stating that I had to move, says Enqvist.

On one of the coldest days in January 2008 Bailiff knocking on the door. It was late at night. Enqvist and family were thrown out.

Pål Diskerud lives of non-performing loans. All of our family was almost destroyed because of this, he says.

The family Enqvist has fought since 2007 to get back home, without success. First went Enqvist the magazine Kapital to get the matter out into the light. So the dispute gone to trial for several laps. There has Enqvist lost, time after time. Pål Diskerud contracts and agreements have been waterproof.

Diskerud attorney, Arne Os, so however that Enqvist entered into an unfavorable deal. “Today Enqvist far down and any agreement that saves the values from compulsory liquidation appears to him to be favorable at the moment. If he comes upstairs, he quickly read the agreement in a different light, and I want you to be aware that the contract model has elements that can be criticized, “wrote Os in a letter to Diskerud presented to the court. It helped a little.

Enqvist straw was to show that Diskerud lending was illegal, he was a professional lender who drove without a license. This did not Enqvist right on. He could only document a small part of Diskerud business. “The court finds it is not proven that Diskerud driver professional lending operations of any scale,” reads the judgment from 2009.


BIG IMPACT

Pål Diskerud has not yet been captured by the authorities radar, despite the fact that he has driven lending business for two decades. To operate professionally with the moneylender in Norway, one must have a license from the FSA. It has neither Diskerud or his companies, according to the audit.

Economics Professor Halvor Mehlum at the University of Oslo is critical that gråmarkedsutlånere can operate freely.

– This type of loan should be banned. Here’s lending activities are of great harm to society. It’s often associated with mafia operations. Debt ratio to the lender is almost like a slave conditions. Banks and financial institutions are serious about wanting to get their money back, but the agreements with loan sharks is to be expected that the lender wants that the agreements will be defaulted, he said.

He does not know Diskerud particular, and comment on the phenomenon.

There is a word for borrowing relationship with unreasonably high interest rates, usury. In criminal law ågerparagraf states that it “is unlawful to exploit someone’s distress, levity, folly or dependency to achieve a consideration.” DN has scrutinized judgments and cases that have gone on trial in Norway over the past decade. None has so far convicted for violation of ågerparagrafen. Recently, however two loan sharks have been prosecuted for illegal gråmarkedslån. Both have a background of serious crime. The cases are brought by police group for organized crime and should be up to the court in a matter of months.

Professor Mehlum find the classic “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith.

– Even Adam Smith, the liberal financial market hero, there is a limit. He believed that ågervirksomhet was a bad thing in a functioning capitalist society, says Mehlum.

He agrees with Smith. An unregulated over-the- counter for loans can have serious consequences.

– People in need are willing to do anything, say Mehlum.

– They must be protected from themselves.


In Room

The man at the outdoor restaurant remember it like it were yesterday, although nearly seven years g to standby. The day he got on a flight to Spain and ran away from it all. From family and friends. From his own life. To escape the loan shark heavy hand.

– It was when they threatened me with taking my children, I decided. The only solution I saw was to take my own life. I planned to drive the car straight into a post in Oslofjordtunnelen, he said.

He had picked out the post. Today he is glad he chose to go instead.

DN meet him somewhere in Norway. He still owes loan sharks 20 million kroner. Interest rates are 500,000 per month. Total debt has grown to more than 60 million.

– I have not seen my children since that day, he says, and smiles sad.

– I’ve only talked to them on the phone. I broke the connector to protect them. I think of them every day.

The man in red Lacoste sweater and black sport goggles looking for words.

– My daughter’s birthday is in two days. I’m trying to get sent a gift to her.

The man’s disability began when he borrowed money from Pål Diskerud to rescue a firm he was a partner in. It is almost ten years ago now. Only one loan, then more. To get rid of the loans to Diskerud, he had to borrow money from the second loan sharks. Loan carousel that evolved, going faster and faster. Finally, there was no more he could borrow. He says that the debt to Paul Diskerud is paid. There are other pengeinnkrevere he escapes from.

– I lost control. Loan carousel has ruined my life. But it’s my own fault, he says.

– I’m not afraid of being shot. What I am afraid of is that they will hurt my family.

Torpedoes

He sits at D / S Louise at Aker Brygge and eats Atlantic shrimp. He is one of the toughest lenders in town.

– I tend well to take between 10 and 15 percent interest per month. It depends a little on whether I know the person before or not.

Piquet-shirt tight over the chest muscles. The big Gucci sunglasses holding the crisp autumn sun out.

– Who is it that borrows money in the unregulated market?

– Some will pay other debts. Many of them will need money quickly, any time of day. There are many who come as you had expected. Both wealthy and prominent business people who need one or two million in cash. I do not ask why. It is not my case.

He tells how the loans obscured by the way the agreements are set up and by putting other people from. The high interest rates are hidden as well.

– On paper, it looks as if the interest rate is low. The rest is in cash or hidden in side agreements.

– What happens if they do not pay?

– Then the bad mood. When I put the case forward in a way that does not give room for discussion. It is rare that I do not get back the money, all manage to raise money if they have to, he says.

– Leverages not people in need?

– No, I’m helping them, he says, and smiles.

The man will not say how much he earns per year in the lending business, but suggests that there are several million. He always has multiple loans outstanding and says that the ten people in Norway in the bank of a certain size.

– Professionally it’s probably only about five pieces, he said.

He says most people in the bank, also pengeinnkrevere or torpedoes.

– I’m pretty big, but rumors say that Paul Diskerud is the greatest. Diskerud operating at a more professional level.


Man in coat

In May 2008, met a motley bunch of general data company Norwegian Information Terminals as – better known as the NIT. Here torpedoes, former convicts and representatives for the occasional McKinsey partner. At the back corner stood a man in coat and cap with his back to. He was unknown to most, but quietly had Diskerud funded with loans over many years through his wholly owned company Jonathan as.

– I guess we borrowed money from Diskerud nine times, says NIT-founder Terje Lien.

Diskerud operated almost like a bank for NIT in the period 2003 to 2007. This emerged in the loan agreements DN has access to.

Slowly but surely took Diskerud control over NIT. He had a mortgage on founders shares. Diskerud got even put his own man in the company. This person had full control over nits bank accounts and make the money that came in went to pay Diskerud requirements. This is evident from agreements DN has a copy of.

NIT was a disaster for shareholders. But not for Diskerud.

– Diskerud was probably the only one who profited from the NIT, says Lien today.

When NIT went bankrupt a few years later, Diskerud sold out and disappeared. Documents from the bankruptcy estate that DN has undergone shows that Diskerud got paid £ millions of NIT.

Diskerud also loaned money to other companies. In 2005 borrowed Jonathan as out a few million when the seismic company Scan Geophysical purchased equipment on bankruptcy sales in the UK. Also, these loans were Diskerud repaid, together with a great record of shares. Finally Diskerud company’s second largest shareholder. When Scan Geophysical went bankrupt in 2009, was Diskerud away.

Jonathan as is Paul Diskerud main company. On paper, however, Jonatan technically bankrupt, only kept alive 60 million in loans from “Pål Diskerud family,” according to its annual report.

According letterheads are Jonathan as also “Member of the Desert Troon Group” – a US real estate group belonging Tore Christian Diskerud (76), Pål Diskerud father.

Also in the lending market has Pål Diskerud operated on his father’s behalf.


PAPPAS BOYS

– It was a bit strange.

Jørn Standal sitting at meeting table in the upstairs of the dog hotel he operates in Hakadal. Outside barking dogs that swim in Standal-kennel resistance pool or trips around the dogs’ own massage floor. Standal have found all the papers from some old case, a case that ended up in court and that he really tried to forget.

In 2002 had Standal raise funds quickly to save a data company he then was co-owner. He needed 4.7 million. It could Pål Diskerud help him.

All papers were however issued dad Tore Diskerud name.

– I had never met Tore Diskerud says Standal.

– As payment for the loan should Diskerud have 600,000 million, representing over 30 percent annual interest, plus 100,000 shares in the company. The shares were at this time worth 600,000 kroner. Altogether I had therefore to pay 1.2 million that he would help me, says Standal.

In a very short time got Pål Diskerud set up a meeting with Eidsberg Savings Bank, where the family Diskerud had good relations. The loan was organized in a subtle way. Instead of borrowing the money itself, put Tore Diskerud a cash account in Eidsberg Savings Bank as collateral. So borrowed bank money to Standal, backed by Diskerud cash. Pål Diskerud signed on behalf of his father [Tore Diskerud].

– On the steps outside the bank, after signing the loan papers, I delivered Pål Diskerud 300,000 dollars in cash. There is no doubt that Paul Diskerud is a professional lender, no, says Standal dry.

Tore Christian Diskerud is little desire to comment on why his name is on the loan papers.

– I know what you are doing, says Tore Diskerud hasty DN on the phone from the US.

– You’ll never find anything. Stop that nonsense!

US EMPIRE

Phoenix, Arizona. From the air, watching the real estate Desert Troon headquarters like a star inside a circle, but from ground level see the two floors relatively modest out. Upstairs sitting Tore Christian Diskerud and leads the books over a huge US real estate empire.

Tore Diskerud was a major player in the yuppie future real estate market in the late 80s. He was a partner and chairman of Andenæs Group, the financial services group Star Holding, before it went thundering bankruptcy in 1993, also was a participant in the gray lending market.

While the cleanup after the bankruptcy was his time, moved Tore Diskerud from Norway. He has built up again in the USA. In documents filed with the United States government, it emerges that Diskerud manages a property portfolio worth seven billion dollars in the United States. Holding Company Desert Troon has developed golf courses, shopping centers, hotels and apartment projects.

According to accounts of Jonathan as and Phoenix Holding as was Paul Diskerud until 2009 a partner in his father’s real estate empire. Tore Diskerud was on their side chair of his son’s Norwegian company Jonathan as in the period 2000 to 2005 while the CEO and chairman of the family company Phoenix Holding as until 2011. Both these companies have borrowed money in the unregulated market with Tore Diskerud as Chairman.


In the apple orchard

In 2010, financier Cato Sælid about to buy a house on Bygdøy to himself and his wife, TV vet Trude Mostue. Bidding process had gone quickly, but funding was not fully seated. Sælid lacked a little over four million, and as backup while he waited for an answer on the loan application, he went to the one he knew lent money: Pål Diskerud.

The loan was no problem. Admittedly rate as usual sky-high, 43 percent. In addition, the complicated side agreements. Diskerud would have security through an option to buy the house on the cheap. Everything was clear, the agreements lacked signatures. When the documents arrived at the table, was a completely unknown name as counterparty: Anne Cecilie Scharning (62), an anonymous apple orchard developer in Oslo.

– I had never met Anne Cecilie Scharning and do not know why her name was there, but I signed. It was Paul Diskerud I did business with, say Sælid today.

The further the story was not quite as expected for either party. Sælid had obtained the full amount in the bank and politely refuse the loan from Scharning and Diskerud. He did not need it anyway, he said. After a while he was still an angry letter from Scharning. She demanded 295,000 dollars in interest. The loan agreement was written so Sælid matter had to fork out.

– I ended up paying. I was afraid that they might require to buy the house at a bargain price. I must admit that I experienced at that blackmail, especially when it orally was explicitly stated that the entire agreement kit only came into use in the real borrowing, says Sælid.

The money he paid to a client of the law firm Dalan in Oslo. Who actually received the money, he is unsure.

Anne Cecilie Scharning writes in response to DN that she has only lent money once, and that was to Sælid.

– This was one time only and do not constitute ‘lending activity, “she writes.

Scharning maintains that it was she herself who met Sælid. How they met, she will not answer.

– I know Paul Diskerud, but that does not mean we lend money together. Diskerud was not party to the loan agreement.

Cato Sælid maintains that he did not know Scharning.

– It was Paul Diskerud I had contact with. It was he I were to borrow money, says Sælid.

He perceived it as that Pål Diskerud had a need to hide.

– In my eyes was Scharning just a straw man for Diskerud.


ROAD TO PARADISE

Nærsnes late summer of 2014. A lone excavator working on leveling the lawn around the pool. The main house, which has been freshly painted white, with views up to Snarøya in Bærum.

According to the previous owner, businessman Terje Andreassen was Pål Diskerud very interested in lending money secured by property.

– Diskerud offered me the loan of 15 million dollars to save the property, says Andreassen today.

– He brought his father out there when they considered my property. They were there several times to look at it, but I ended up not borrow money from them, he said.

In 2013 the property went on the forced sale of 16.3 million. The buyer named Anne Cecilie Scharning. Shortly after Scharning had signed the purchase contract, called it Andreassens mobile phone.

– It was Paul Diskerud. He would buy the way. It certainly was very important for him, says Andreassen.

Andreassen had in fact retained one of the patches, and in this patch was the way to the house. Why was Paul Diskerud interested in this one little bit?

– I assumed they had bought property together, says Andreassen.

Diskerud and Scharning already has a joint real estate project in Asker. Anne Cecilie Scharning will not comment on the ownership of the property on Saltbutangen, but refers to Pål Diskerud for comments.


HIDDEN LOAN

Pål Diskerud lending operations extending over a few decades. DN has found nearly 40 different loan conditions, with a large number of counterparties. Common for borrowers is that they do not have the time or the ability to borrow money in ordinary bank.

Frederick Mowinckel was part of the infamous financial community at Aker Brygge in many years. He also borrowed money from Pål Diskerud.

– It was a mistake. It cost me dearly. Today I am completely cured from wanting to work in the financial industry.

When Mowinckel and a friend needed money, they went to Paul Diskerud.

– In principle, it was a stock with a repurchase guarantee, where we were to buy the shares back at a higher price, he says.

– It’s not common that a stock is secured by a mortgage on the house?

– No, you could say that it was in fact a loan. With quite healthy interest. I ended well up paying nearly two million dollars.

The pledge was initially of 400,000 kroner. How big loan really was, Mowinckel has done his best to forget.

– Just so it’s clear: I do not blame Paul Diskerud. It was I who needed money quickly and would borrow, and I was stupid enough to do it.


The Pawnbroker

DN has undergone dozens of properties where Diskerud companies and individuals or law firms affiliated Diskerud has taken security. DN has gone through property records and found pledges and over extension rings to Diskerud sphere 60 million. How big business really is, is hard to say. For that the loan transactions were well hidden.

In 2010 needed the disputed accountant and businessman Knut Harald Nylænde money quickly.

– I was in a divorce and had problems in some entrepreneurial companies. I needed money. When I called Paul Diskerud says Nylænde.

– I knew from confessed that he was involved in lending money.

Diskerud lined up. Again it was another name that was on the paperwork.

At a cafe in Oslo adds Nylænde document entitled “Loan Agreement” on the table. Terms respondent was Jesper Jeppesen, but as a witness on agreement states Pål Diskerud signature.

The arrangement between Diskerud and Nylænde consists of several agreements with various counterparties. Among other things, conferred Nylænde company containing properties and any outstanding debts to Diskerud. Meanwhile borrowed Jesper Jeppesen out millions, to Nylænde and took a mortgage on Nyla castle-like villa in beachfront at Bygdøy.

– I do not know why Jesper Jeppesen’s name was mentioned in the loan agreement. It was Diskerud I interacted with, say Nylænde.

Jeppesen proves Pål Diskerud most trusted employee. Not only is he often two steps behind Diskerud wherever he goes, he also has a central role in Diskerud companies. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the two apart.

 

Grev Wedel Space Auctions in Quadrature in Oslo. It is 28 November 2011 and white gloves carries out Munch’s woodcut “Moonlight”. Price assessment is just under 2.5 million kroner. Assembly looks, but no raises budskiltet high enough. Munch carried out. The same is repeated in June 2013, although the asking price is lowered by 500,000 kroner.

A Munch-image is a security that can be removed without leaving any tracks. There is money on the wall. In the art market shift large values hands between secret buyers and sellers. Also in Norway.

– I can not tell who I sell pictures for, says Hans Richard Elgheim, CEO at Grev Wedel Space Auctions.

DN followed the traces of the valuable Munch picture since it was sold by Sotheby’s in London in 2008 for 125,000 pounds. A year later it was sold for two million to a broke businessman, before it suddenly appeared at auction in Oslo.

– Who told you about this?

The controversial art dealer Svein Arne Hagen (49) responds unwillingly on the phone. He chooses to put the cards on the table.

– “Moonlight” is owned by Pål Diskerud, Jesper Jeppesen and me. We own it together, but on paper it is owned by Idefix Invest – company Diskerud sidekick, Jesper Jeppesen, says Svein Arne Hagen.

– The story is that I had pledged image but Diskerud bought out the pledge, and we agreed to split the profits when the picture is sold.

Jesper Jeppesen (36) company, Idefix Invest AS, the address of one of Diskerud apartments in Elisenbergveien. Nothing in Idefix Invest accounts indicate that the company has owned a Munch image to around two million years.


AN EXPENSIVE Relationship

Art Handler Svein Arne Hagen and Paul Diskerud’ve known each other a long time. Hagen has created a living by buying and selling art to an environment a little on the side of the established collector market. In 2007, Hagen borrow 1.25 million kroner by Pål Diskerud to buy a house in Hurum. The interest rate was 30 percent. Soon Diskerud just as interested in Hagen’s art collection.

– Diskerud is an expensive acquaintance. He has probably taken over nearly 20 photographs and sculptures that have been mine, says Hagen.

He says that art Pål Diskerud has taken over from him, has always been the security for the loan. It applies to works from Frits Thaulow, Odd Nerdrum, Munch and Kirsten Kokkin.
– I guess I have borrowed money from Diskerud ten times, I think. Together 7-8000000 respectively. But he’d probably call it something other than loans, says Hagen.
All loans are arranged as art purchases, where Diskerud on paper purchased works of art, while the garden has been an agreement to repurchase for a slightly higher price. The price difference represents the hidden interest on the loan.
Svein Arne Hagen’s former lawyer confirms that it’s the way it goes.
– Diskerud hides loans and usury behind formal purchase, says lawyer Steingrim Wolland.
This has repeatedly caused problems.
– I can confirm that, in connection with such an arrangement, considering Diskerud sue for breach of contract and fraud, says Wolland, who also bonded for one of the loans.
The dispute comes two images of Edvard Munch “Vampire” and “Two women on the beach.” Diskerud confirmed in a police interview in 2010 that he bought these photos from the garden. Several sources say the pictures today hangs on the wall in Diskerud apartment Tjuvholmen.
Svein Arne Hagen is tired of lie about how they got there.
– The pictures he made inaccessible for me.
– How?
– He bought pictures of me for about 2.5 million. The pictures were well worth the time between seven million and eight million. I had as usual an offset option. But he made himself unavailable, and I never used the option. It’s his trademark, it. He makes himself unavailable, says Hagen.
Hagen feel cheated. But when the need is greatest which is convenient loan dangerously tempting. Last year was Hagen once again short of money. He called Paul Diskerud. Again. And this time it was really expensive for Hagen. According to documents that have been presented in court, was undated purchase contracts and blankoskjøter deposited with Diskerud law firm, Dalan in Oslo, as security for a new multimillion-dollar.

The garden is quiet.
– Who the hell is the source of this?

– It’s true that I borrowed 1.5 million dollars in six months. For that he would have a million dollars. How much it will be in the interest rates, you can probably figure out for yourself, Hagen says laconically.

The answer is 133 percent interest rate.

Hagen sugar. He has the impression that Diskerud is a major player in the loan market.

– He’s very discreet and secretive, but from what I’ve got with me, he has certainly given 100 loans over the past decade. He is able to obtain large savings if the conditions are present.


No fixed abode

One Monday not long ago. Two men leave Nordea branch at Solli plass. They strode quickly down the hill towards the lake and stop at a store to buy food. One has sandals and a bandana tied around his head. It’s Pål Diskerud. The other two steps behind, is adjunct Jesper Jeppesen. They swing out on the square that is the start of Tjuvholmen. Then they disappear into an anonymous door.

Many victims of Diskerud loan business telling the same story. It is difficult to get hold of Paul Diskerud, almost impossible, say people who have borrowed money from him and that will repay. He no longer takes phone, he responds not by email. The business address of Elisenbergveien he is obviously not. Only a few know for certain where he lives.

Is this where he located? The fashionable Tjuvholmen?
asylum centers

In the reception center Mysebu in Mysen in Eidsberg municipality sing it in Eritrean dialects and Arabic speech between the walls. Sometimes flying the bedsteads and toilet seat through the air on the old folk high school, before blue light rips the darkness.

Together with collaborators driver Pål Diskerud several reception centers. In recent years they have received over 100 million in state aid and gone by 14 million in profits. On paper, it remains Farmers’ Association which owns the buildings housing the reception at Mysen, but in reality it Pål Diskerud who also own these. It provides some neat million in rental revenue to the company as Jonathan.

– He’s a bit of a type. He said he would hold a gymnasium, so he bought the old folk high school, laughing Inge Olav Fure, who helped start the reception center.

– Once I borrowed an apartment for him in Chelsea Harbor in London. Right by the River Thames, with Jaguar in the garage below.

Laughter is strained. His friendship with Diskerud took a perverse turn when Fure borrowed money from him. Fure needed liquidity and pay back all the interest in no time.

Maybe the FBI speaks Norwegian better than Google Translate?

Desert Troon’s Chairman Associated With International Loan Sharking

According to multiple published articles, beginning at least on November 8th, 2014, and possibly earlier, Desert Troon’s Chairman and senior investor, Tore Christian Diskerud, is allegedly associated with what appears to be multiple individual reports of loan sharking in Europe.

Summary:

  • The Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) is a major investor with the Desert Troon Companies, to the tune of something like $300 million (more about Desert Troon’s investment performance).
  • Tore Christian Diskerud is the Chairman and apparently the founder of the Desert Troon Companies.
  • Tore Diskerud, Pal Diskerude, and a mysterious entity named Unius, LLC (and possibly San Francisco-based Troon Pacific) is allegedly associated with unregulated and possibly illegal loan sharking (usury) in Europe.
  • Unius LLC is one of the many entities associated with Desert Troon’s  and Arizona PSPRS’ joint-venture “DTR-1” real estate holding company (see the Arizona Corporate Commission and PSPRS’ public meeting minutes).
  • The FSA or Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) is investigating for potential illegal activity.

Dagens Naeringsliv has reported some or most of these alleged concerns.

  • Dagens Næringsliv is Norway’s largest business newspaper with a circulation of 80,595 in 2013 (daily). Dagens Næringsliv publishes news, investigative reporting, commentary, analysis and debate concerning Norwegian business and society. The paper wants to inform people not just about what is happening, but why. We keep a critical eye on the key players and companies in the financial and business sectors.

The following article appears to have been originally published in Norwegian, but was translated by Google Translate.  Let’s see how good Google really is…

http://www.dn.no/nyheter/finans/2014/11/11/2151/Jus/ble-finansiert-fra-usa

Authors:  Gøran Skaalmo Knut Gjernes Publisert: 11.11.2014

Loan shark was funded by the US

Loan shark Paul Diskerud live and operate from a 20-million luxury apartment on Tjuvholmen in Oslo. Who owns the apartment, and how it is paid, appears to be highly uncertain.


This is the case
From a penthouse on Tjuvholmen serve asylum investor and football agent Paul Diskerud (53) money on controversial lending in the unregulated market.


Many of the loans are organized as purchase with a repurchase option, but then a much higher price. Interest rates are at most over 100 percent a year.


A retiree in need of care and an elderly woman is in danger of losing their homes to Diskerud. In DN Saturday told several of Diskerud customers how he makes himself unavailable to loans secured by real estate attempted settled.


Neither Diskerud or his companies have a license to engage in lending. Diskerud is listed with zero income and no fixed abode.


Pål Diskerud believes he has done nothing wrong and writes in an email that the DN trying “to produce another, ordinary business activities disguised loans. This is incorrect. ”


FSA will examine whether the activity is legal.


In the new Penal Code will ågerparagrafen removed [ ågerparagrafen appears to be Norwegian for usury interest or loan sharking].

From a 180 square meter apartment on Tjuvholmen driver loan shark Paul Diskerud his controversial lending business. Apartment, and a smaller, adjoining apartment, was purchased in 2009 for over 20 million.

On paper, the buyer was the US registered company Unius LLC, which was created in the US state of Delaware in 2008.

[Appears to be an interview]

I can not reveal who owns the company or who know how to get in touch. It is confidential, says a representative for Unius’ registered agent in Delaware.

Can you forward a message?

No. All other correspondence than about taxes being thrown in the trash. We further brings no messages.

Apartments at Tjuvholmen is not encumbered by a mortgage, which shows that it is not pledged to the bank. Where the purchase of 20.5 million came from, no one can confirm.

We sold the apartment to a private person at launch in 2006. Later, it traded in the secondary market. The transaction does not know we said Christoffer Utne in Tjuvholmen KS.

Transfers from abroad of more than NOK 100,000 must be reported by banks or financial institutions that receive the transfer.

DN has not found that the reports of transfers from Unius, LLC in the United States in Norwegian registers. It is therefore unclear how Unius, LLC paid for the apartment, how the money may be transferred and to whom. Pål Diskerud, which, according to numerous sources disposes apartment has not answered questions from DN about this.

Company Unius LLC however involved in Diskerud-American family business.

Documents from Companies Register in Arizona shows that Unius LLC is co-owner of Dad Tore Diskerud’s estate empire in the US. According to company presentations, the company manages Desert Troon properties for more than a billion dollars.

More to follow.  Can anyone in Phoenix translate Norwegian (besides Tore Diskerud)?

 

Taxpayer Trick Or Treat Redux

One year ago –

The Appraisal Institute

Professionals Providing Real Estate Solutions

October 2013 – MyAppraisalInstitute.org – Residential Update

Arizona Investments Allegedly Ignored Market-value Appraisals

The Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System allegedly reported increased real estate investment returns by ignoring the market-value appraisals it had commissioned and using instead the higher valuations provided by the firm managing the pension fund’s $7.2 billion portfolio, Pensions & Investments reported Sept. 2 [2013].

Pension fund officials allegedly disregarded appraisals from Ernst & Young and let fund manager Desert Troon provide hypothetical values for some two dozen properties that Desert Troon and the pension fund held through a joint venture.

The Arizona PSPRS financial statements showed an $80 million difference between the market and hypothetical values of the properties, Pensions & Investments reported. Fund Administrator James Hacking noted Aug. 8 [2013] that the hypothetical values of the properties were listed based on what they would sell for after the real estate recovery.

Desert Troon manages $344.3 million in real estate assets for the Arizona fund, which accounts for about a third of the fund’s real estate portfolio and 4.5 percent of total assets, Pensions & Investments reported. The portfolio holds an assortment of housing developments, commercial buildings, strip malls and vacant land, mostly all are in the Phoenix area, which saw a deep drop in prices during the financial crisis.

Since the pension fund came into the spotlight, two lead portfolio managers and the fund’s investment counsel have resigned in protest, and the state auditor general is investigating.

An analysis by Pensions & Investments showed that the difference in valuation between Ernst & Young and Desert Troon allowed the Arizona retirement fund to claim a -0.79 percent return instead of a -2.15 percent return for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. The valuation difference resulted in an 11.48 percent return for fiscal year 2013, rather than 10.35 percent had Ernst & Young’s valuation been used.

According to Pensions & Investments, real estate investment officials at other pension plans said it is highly unusual for a fund to hire an appraiser and then reject that appraiser’s recommendations.

The PSPRS board voted to use the hypothetical valuations of Desert Troon at a meeting in May 2013, and the fund had represented the hypothetical value on its books as market value.

Doug Cole, a spokesman for PSPRS, told Pensions & Investments that the fund will make it clear in its upcoming annual fiscal report that manager assessments of fair value are synonymous with investment methodologies.

Desert Troon Loses PSPRS’ Real Estate Investment For Five Years

According to the blog PSPRS.info, as verified by PSPRS consultant New England Pension Consultants, the Desert Troon Companies have lost the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System’s investment for AT LEAST the past five years based on the one-year, three-year, and five-year performance measurements reported by NEPC to the PSPRS Board of Trustees.

Desert Troon’s Verified Performance for PSPRS:
• -16.4% One-year performance
• -3.1% Three-year performance
• -4.7% Five –year performance

LINK (see page 50): PSPRS 2014 Investment Summary by New England Pension Consultants


LINK: Excerpts from the PSPRS.info blog posted September 23, 2014

  • At the end of the past fiscal year, PSPRS’ total real estate portfolio had a market value of $873,820,740. This accounts for 10.8% of PSPRS’$8,127,506,488 total market value. The 10.8% allocation falls just about right in the middle of PSPRS’ target range for real estate investments of 6-16% of the total investment portfolio.
  • The Desert Troon commitment to the real estate portfolio is $297,862,000. This makes up 34% of the real estate portfolio and 3.7% of PSPRS’ total investment portfolio.
  • So we can see that Desert Troon has a grossly disproportionate share of PSPRS’ real estate portfolio.
  • The total real estate portfolio had a -0.6% return for the past fiscal year. This compares to the benchmark National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) Property Index return of 11.2%. Real estate was the only asset class to have a negative return for the past fiscal year.
  • The Desert Troon commitment had a return for the past fiscal year of -16.4%.
  • If we do the math, the Desert Troon investment had an annual loss of $58.43 million
  • If we look at the three-year returns… Desert Troon is one of the two to have a negative three-year return (-3.1%).
  • Desert Troon is one of the six with a negative five-year return (-4.7%).
  • Desert Troon did have the dubious distinction of being the only real estate investment held for at least five years that had negative returns for one, three, and five years. I guess they get some credit for consistency.
  • In summary, there appears to be an over-weighting of the real estate portfolio in Desert Troon while the portfolio itself has been consistently underperforming over the past five years.
  • Regardless, it does appear that the relationship will need to change so that PSPRS can diversify its real estate portfolio and not have its returns so closely tied to a single company.

PSPRS FBI Subpoena Sought Files Related To Desert Troon Companies And CIO Ryan Parham’s Confidential Letters

http://www.pionline.com/article/20140812/ONLINE/140819961/arizona-psprs-subpoena-sought-files-related-to-desert-troon-cio-letters

By Randy Diamond | August 12, 2014

A federal grand jury investigating the $7.9 billion Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System sought several hundred files related to PSPRS’ investments with its largest real estate manager, Desert Troon Cos., and confidential letters the pension fund’s Chief Investment Officer Ryan Parham wrote to PSPRS board members, the subpoena shows.

Judicial Watch provided the document to Pensions &Investments on Tuesday morning.

The vote by the board to release the document came on the same day the board voted 4-2 to give Mr. Parham a two-year contract extension as the pension fund’s CIO.

Mr. Parham, who makes $268,000 a year and is the highest paid state employee in Arizona, will not be getting a raise. But he will receive two $25,000 retention bonuses over the next two years.

Mr. Parham was a key proponent of a plan that increased the value of PSPRS’ portfolio with Desert Troon by calculating the investments at its value based on recovery of the Arizona real estate market, instead of its market value.

The portfolio had declined in value after the collapse of the Arizona real estate market during the recession.

Three of the pension fund’s investment officers and the chief counsel for its investment office all resigned last year over the valuation dispute, maintaining it was improper for the retirement system to calculate the Desert Troon investments at potential future value instead of a market-based appraisal.

The documents requested by the federal grand jury include valuation records regarding appraisal of the Desert Troon portfolio and confidential written investment reports Mr. Parham sent to the PSPRS board between 2010 and 2013. Sources say those reports included Mr. Parham’s comments on the performance and value of the Desert Troon portfolio.

James Hacking, the pension fund’s former administrator, has insisted that retirement system officials acted properly and in the best interests of PSPRS regarding the valuation of the Desert Troon portfolio.

Mr. Hacking was terminated last month over another controversy involving his approval of pay raises for some members of the retirement system’s investment staff without the required approval of the Arizona State Department of Administration.

The documents named in the federal grand jury subpoena are a subset of documents taken from PSPRS by Anton Orlich, one of the investment staffers who resigned over the controversy involving Desert Troon.

The pension fund had filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court last October demanding the return of the documents that Mr. Orlich said in legal filings he took to protect them from being destroyed.

Mr. Orlich received a federal grand jury subpoena earlier this year for the documents. But he turned over the documents to the Maricopa County Superior Court for safekeeping as part of an agreement with PSPRS until the legal dispute was settled.

The federal grand jury then subpoenaed PSPRS for the documents related to Desert Troon.

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