Officials Can’t Find Investors Behind Near-Air-Base Land Buy

( – The government does not know who bought a billion dollars worth of land near a key air force base. An unknown group named Flannery Associates has purchased 52,000 acres in Northern California, close to Travis Air Force Base, making it the largest landowner in Solano County. The Air Force’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Office is investigating the purchases but has not been able to identify its investors.

An attorney for Flannery Associates says its owners are American citizens, combined with a small number of investors from the UK and Ireland. The lawyer also said the proximity to Travis Air Force Base is incidental.

Democrat Rep. John Garamendi, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said, “We don’t know who Flannery is, and their extensive purchases do not make sense to anybody in the area. The fact that they’re buying land purposefully right up to the fence at Travis raises significant questions.”

Rep. Garamendi, together with fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Thompson, have asked the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to open a formal inquiry into the land acquisitions. The CFIUS can block land purchases if these are considered a threat to national security.

County supervisor Mitch Mashburn said he is suspicious about the venture, noting it would be difficult to make a profit on an almost $1 billion investment, particularly as the mysterious company has yet to engage with officials about planning projects.

In an email in 2019, a company attorney Richard Melnyk said the plan was to work with local farmers and food producers to develop “new types of crops or orchards,” but Mashburn said he is skeptical about this, saying most of the land is dry and not wholly suitable to agricultural development. In a separate email, the same lawyer stated that it may lease the land to olive producers.

Flannery Associates is registered in Delaware and lists an individual named Thomas Mather as the owner, though little is known about him.

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