Does this remind anyone, just the littlest bit, of Jack Rose's dealings with the Corporation Commission?

I talked to Rose on Monday. I'd been warned that he is charming and smart and persuasive. Talking to him, it's easy to see how he was able to pull himself up from a Mohave Valley trailer park to Yale and Harvard Law and then a job at the Arizona Corporation Commission: He talks a very good game. I found myself liking him.

The facts, as he presented them, seem reasonable enough. Rose told me that he did a number of deals with one of the Woods, sister Margaret Wood Carl. She was a real estate broker, he says, and knew what she was doing.

He insists that the project was moving along just fine until the Woods screwed it up by overreacting to the sort of problems that plague any big development. He says they had no reason to file for bankruptcy: "They just shot themselves in the foot."

He claims he's an innocent victim. "What they're alleging is simply not true," he says. "I've been a friend of their family; we've done a lot of business together. They've made millions of dollars off their relationship with me." Now that the economy has crashed, he suggests, they've turned on him.

It all made sense. But then I went back to the evidence.

As it turns out, it's not just the Woods who are angry with Jack Rose. A suit has been filed over Rose's property dealings with a second family. And I talked to the representative of a third family who also made hefty payments to Rose, with little to show for it. I suspect they'll end up filing suit, too.

And though Rose argues that the Wood family gave him their blessing, he talks out of both sides of his mouth. Out of one side, he claims that Margaret Wood Carl was an experienced broker who knew what she was getting into. Out of the other, he claims that the Woods are only angry because they were too unsophisticated to understand that the project was on course.

So here are the facts.

As a broker, Margaret Wood Carl handled residential projects. She had no experience with development of this magnitude. That's why she brought on Rose.

And the Woods agreed to some terms that just seem absurd. When they originally hired Rose to help them sell or market the farm, they agreed to give him 6 percent of the selling price — plus $10,000 a month for five years, even though he's not a licensed real estate broker.

That meant Rose stood to make $600,000 even if he never sold an acre. Seriously.

Then there was the infrastructure. When the city agreed to buy the Woods' land for the stadiums, Rose set up the deal so that the Woods would take care of the basics, like grading and drainage. The city would reimburse up to $10 million.

Good deal, right? Except it was the Woods who were required to finance the work — and it was Rose who'd be getting the $10 million reimbursement.

Then there was the sales tax remittance. The Woods were to develop a "retail liner" around the stadium — shops, restaurants, maybe a bar. Because the family sold the land for the stadium to the city at far less than it was worth, the city agreed to give back up to $5 million in sales taxes.

Again, not a bad deal — except for one thing. The agreement was actually structured so the $5 million went to Rose, not the Woods. (And, of course, it was the Woods putting up both the land and the money.)

One final kicker: Rose started a new company to do the construction. The Woods claim the company ran up expenses, did work that wasn't necessary, and subcontracted to cronies.

And though Rose defends the work of his company, it's interesting to note that this is its first big project.

Phil Meyers is a Paradise Valley businessman, brought in by the Woods to restructure their deals in light of the bankruptcy. He says there were three national construction firms doing the actual work — but that Rose's company was supposedly managing them.

"To have a company as inexperienced as Civica there supervising them was just ridiculous," Meyers says. "Civica had never done a project like that before. They were in way over their head — and they cost everybody millions."

Plus, Rose is a lawyer. When he said he had the Wood family's best interests at heart, they trusted him, Meyers says. According to their suit, Rose would frequently hand them documents just before city council meetings, for example, telling them to sign in a hurry. The Woods didn't even give them a cursory read before putting pen to paper.

Rose insists that the Wood family had a lawyer through it all, a guy named Jim Rossie. "He was involved from Day One," Rose says. "Now, in some of the agreements, they chose not to use him. Margaret [Wood Carl] is very conservative about spending money. She didn't want to pay a lawyer to look at some of these things . . . But I begged them — I introduced them to other lawyers . . . If she didn't want to pay a lawyer to look at these agreements, that's hardly my fault."

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4 comments
Ladanian
Ladanian

Civiterra was the only company lining it's pockets. Jack and John did have the right people on the job, except Civiterra, and the Wood's are blaming Jack for a bad economy. Unfortunately, Jack trusted Civiterra and got burned for it.

Shirley
Shirley

I find this story amazing because if you have lived on the west side as long as we have you read and hear stories about the people that are movers and shakers. There was a story every other week in our local paper about Jack Rose buying land EVERYWHERE around the west valley. The paper always quoted him and his company President John Ruggieri how they were going to do all this construction and bring jobs. I think Jack Rose and John Ruggieri had something close to 40 properties totaling millions of dollars in less than two years. Jack Rose and John Ruggieri were west valley Gods. On all those properties they owned you need to find out what happened to those properties, find out who the investors were and I'll bet you will see many local and familiar names. I remember hearing that Jack and John were taking peoples money, buying properties in their names then borrowing money on the value of the land they now owned with investors money and purchased more land before the market tanked. Find out what collateral Jack Rose and John Ruggieri were using and you might find it was the land purchased by the people in the west valley as an investment made by hard earned money which was earned throughout a lifetime of hard and honest farm work.

Better people smarter than me need to stop these people and give back to these families. Jack Rose and John Ruggieri need to be given 10 to 20 for some alone time to reflect what they have done.

Aj Rierson
Aj Rierson

I can't believe this article about Jack Rose. I met with him in Buckeye after getting a handful of calls from him. He wanted me to invest in several of his companies all the while telling me about how he represents all of the wealthy farmer/land owners of the Buckeye/Goodyear west valley. This man was so arrogant and smug that he scared the hell out of me. I feel sorry for those poor Woods and everyone else who he talked into entrusting their wealth to this man. He is bad news and he needs to be criminally liable for what he has done to people. Remember what your parents told you, if it sounds to good to be true... it is.

beverly moore
beverly moore

I think that you might find that Jack Rose has also placed the Avondale Mayor in a job with his bank that she has absolutly no qualifications to perform in, or any related financial back ground. You also might look into his relationship with the politically intrenched Miranda Brothers. I remember your paper running an article in which Rose claimed he was financially ruined.

 
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