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Air Force Probes Land Acquisitions By Flannery Associates Amid Security Concerns

Foreign interests suspected as largest landowner in California's Solano County raises questions.

Flannery Associates has spent nearly $1 billion in the last five years to become the largest landowner in California’s Solano County.

Air Force officials are investigating a series of land acquisitions, with the concern that foreign interests could be behind the investment group that purchased the land, The Wall Street Journal reported

Power lines run through Green Valley housing developments, many of the newer developments install mandatory solar arrays on the roofs on every home, because California is the first state to require that newly built homes include a solar system, in Fairfield, California Monday, May 24, 2021. Flannery Associates have purchased land throughout Solano County. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images) 

The Air Force’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Office has been investigating Flannery’s acquisitions, which amount to approximately 52,000 acres, including land near Travis Air Force Base. 

However, despite an ongoing eight-month inquiry, the office has faced challenges in identifying the backers behind the group, according to one of the individuals involved in the investigation, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“Acquisitions around Travis Air Force Base have raised security concerns among Solano County officials, who have been trying to determine the investors in Flannery and their plans for the land for years,” said Bill Emlen, the county administrator, told the publication.

According to an attorney representing Flannery, the entity is under the control of U.S. citizens, and a significant portion of its invested capital, specifically 97%, originates from U.S. investors. Investors from Britain and Ireland contribute the remaining 3%. 

Flannery hd  previously informed Solano County that the entity is owned by a consortium of families seeking to broaden their investment portfolio beyond equities and into tangible assets, such as agricultural land in the western region of the U.S.

“We don’t know who Flannery is, and their extensive purchases do not make sense to anybody in the area,” Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel, told The Wall Street Journal. “The fact that they’re buying land purposefully right up to the fence at Travis raises significant questions.”

A document reviewed by the publication indicates that the U.S. Agriculture Department also expressed interest in Flannery’s ownership. As revealed by records, most of the land located in unincorporated areas of Solano County is designated for agricultural purposes. Notably, several of these parcels feature wind turbines.

The investigation conducted by the outlet discovered that approximately 20 parcels of land encompass Travis Air Force Base, otherwise known as the “Gateway to the Pacific.” The base houses the largest wing of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, responsible for supplying refueling planes and aircraft for transporting military personnel, supplies and munitions used in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond

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