A few days ago, a TPM Reader, who was doing some of her own sleuthing, wrote in to tell me that there might be an interesting backstory to the House Duke Cunningham bought as well as the one he sold.
I feel bad because I wasn't able to work quickly enough in this case with the information she was kind enough to send my way.
But now Tony Perry of the LA Times has confirmed what my reader was telling me.
This from Perry's article in today's Times ...
A month after selling their Del Mar Heights home, Cunningham and his wife, Nancy, paid $2.5 million for an 8,000-square-foot home in exclusive Rancho Santa Fe owned by Douglas and Karen Powanda.
Douglas Powanda is a former executive vice president at Peregrine Systems, a San Diego-based business-software company.
Peregrine was Cunningham's third-largest corporate contributor in 2004, giving $14,000 in individual and corporate donations. In late 2004, Powanda was among eight former Peregrine executives indicted by a federal grand jury in an alleged multibillion-dollar securities fraud; he awaits trial.
Coincidences just won't leave <$Ad$> our man Duke alone when he gets into the real estate game, will they?
Oddly, these three grafs are just dropped down into the center of the article with no other mention or elaboration of the potential significance of this little piece of data.
(Here actually, is what appears to be the grant deed of the sale. And here's an October 2004 article about the Peregrine swindlers.)
But how does this strike you?
According to this page over at Opensecrets.org, Peregrine was Duke's #3 corporate contributor last cycle followed by Mitchell Wade's MZM, Inc. at #4. He unloads the old house on contributor #4 for twice its value and then uses the money to buy a new house from an exec from contributor #3.
And both transactions are handled by a 'real estate agent' (Elizabeth Todd) who'd never sold a home before and who, along with her family (as we first reported) is one of Cunningham's biggest financial contributors.
Small world, ain't it?
So a question: what was the real market price for the second house?