One For The Books

Or how schoolchildren got gypped and nobody cared until it was an election year

Boyd said that Campana's figure of a $20 million killing was based on his statement that the land had been undervalued in its appraisal. Boyd was also given insight into Campana's interpretation of the role of Dennis Knight.

"He mentioned Denro and Dennis Knight as someone who had contested the bidding. He also mentioned that because of a protest, it was necessary to bring that person into his group (Forest City). While he did not directly identify Denro as the party, it was my impression that Denro had been brought into his group in return for Denro dropping its objections."

Fortunately for Mr. Campana, the music at Timothy's was too loud for any more intimate conversation, and he finally dropped off his date at her home before midnight.

"He apologized for dominating the conversation and [said] that on our next date, we could talk about me and what I did for a living."

Now if you think Ms. Boyd had a lousy time, how do you think Richard Campana felt when he discovered that his blind date had given a sworn statement recounting his spirited conversational icebreakers?

Campana characterizes his date's kiss- 'n'-tell accounting as outrageous lies.

Although the state Land Department drafted the bid specifications, there is at least one other written suggestion that Campana was concerned with their final form.

Months before the auction, an employee of the Land Department left a message for Christine S. Laraway, then- director of the Urban Planning Division, from Campana: "State needs to qualify bidders. Don't want speculators. City very nervous about this. If you don't, City will burn up phone to Bob [Lane] and governor. Campana prediction: State will have lots of bidders. Timing is great. State should expect a lot of calls from adjacent property owners. They will be upset about appraisal price."

As Richard Shaw made his futile rounds of government offices trying to interest someone, anyone, in what had happened, the general partner of Westcor wrote a letter to the new commissioner of the Land Department, Jean Hassell.

Jack Rasor of Westcor did not deny muscling Shaw and Pensus. He pointed out that that was life in the big city.

While nearby developers had paid $6 and $7 a square foot for land, Westcor defended its winning bid of $1.57 a square foot, listing 21 separate reasons the final price was no steal, including the fact that Westcor had to improve the property with rights of way and roads. Besides, the state had done the appraisal, not Westcor.

On other points, Rasor's letter apparently adds fuel to the fire: "I was aware in December that Denro filed a complaint with the state regarding the bidder qualification requirements . . . I personally did not think Denro would be successful in its complaint, but that it may have been able to delay the auction until the protest was resolved. It is my understanding from discussions with Denro and Forest City that Denro has been offered a "stand up" partner position in the event Forest City becomes involved in the property . . . . Westcor is anxious to have Forest City as a partner in the deal."

Rasor also outlined a compelling series of events on the day of the auction.

"Until that time, Westcor had not decided whether or not to bid at the auction later that morning. At that time, Forest City had not decided whether or not to bid at the auction. I told Forest City that we would like them as a partner, but no firm agreement was reached prior to the auction . . . . Westcor decided to bid on the fee land the morning of the auction and Forest City decided not to bid on the fee land on the morning of the auction . . . . Westcor still hopes to finalize a partnership with Forest City on the fee land."

Oddly enough, after having carried the burden of being the only real bidder at the auction, Westcor was unable to complete a deal with Richard Campana and Forest City.

Shaw's complaints to state officials that the giant Westcor had dirty hands went nowhere. By June '87, he was so frustrated he even had turned to college professors.

In a June 29 letter, Shaw wrote the director of the Center for Ethics in the ASU Business College: "Notwithstanding going public, and the facts virtually uncontested (which are that the auction qualifications were rigged, there was misconduct during the auction, and the winning auction candidate in fact did not qualify in spite of "tailor-made" qualifications), the silence has been deafening.

"The final response at the administrative level came from the governor's office a couple of weeks ago, which was, `If you want to do something for the schoolchildren of Arizona, then do it yourself . . . .' At this point, one can't be sure if it's as simple as bureaucratic sloth, an indifference to clean government and morality, or something worse."

For Richard Shaw, personally, it would turn out to be "something worse." Something much worse. A $9 million lawsuit from the attorney general accusing Pensus of rigging the bid.

The lawsuit does not name Richard Campana. The suit does not name Forest City. The suit does not name Dennis Knight. The suit does not name Denro Ltd. The suit does not name the state's appraisers, nor the Land Department employees who drew up bid specs. Someone in the Attorney General's Office did figure out that Westcor had something to do with the auction, and it, along with its development partner, Franchise Finance Corporation of America, was also named.

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