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$30M For Circque De Soleil

December 29, 2009

The LA Times has an article out discussing the CIM Group and the investments and loans it has attracted. Locally, CIM has been a fairly active player in the region over the past few years. In San Jose it is known best for being part of the team behind Tower 88. This spring CIM Group picked up about 22 buildings that were formally owned by The Lembi Group. And in October of 2008, CIM Group picked up the $400M 5-building office portfolio from Brandywine Realty.

The article tries to tip-toe around being a hit piece on the CIM Group, but the issue at large is the large sums paid by CIM to politically connected placement agents for attracting funding from CalPERS, without CalPERS’ knowledge. This isn’t necessarily a huge legal issue, but perhaps CalPERS should have policies whereby it requires disclosure.

On investments it has received from pension fund CalPERS:

Recently released documents show that CIM paid former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Alfred J.R. Villalobos nearly $16 million in fees for securing investments from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

On loans it has received from the Federal Government:

CIM was especially successful in Los Angeles, where officials have offered at least $58 million in loans and grants. The most recent: a $30-million federal loan to help CIM attract Cirque du Soleil to the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland shopping center.

And on “insider land trading”…

In 2007, the company persuaded CalPERS to invest up to $200 million in a CIM Infrastructure Fund, which placed an emphasis on renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal power.

A year later, a joint venture of CIM and Renewable Resources Group — a firm headed by Ari Swiller, a friend of and fundraiser for L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — bought 48,000 acres of land in Kern County that had been sought by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for wind farm development.

[via LA Times]

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