Rep. Shuler's real estate disclosures under fire
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) has been under fire recently amid allegations that real estate assets listed on his 2008 personal financial disclosure were omitted from his 2009 disclosure.
The assets are also at the center of another controversy for the former NFL quarterback regarding a potential conflict of interest.
Several real estate development companies are listed as having $0 in value. A note says the companies no longer have any assets; "however, no money was paid or rec'd by Shuler." Shuler did list partnership stakes in The Highlands Property Group LLC and Shuler Properties LLC worth between $1 million and $5 million each. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the development companies were folded into the Highlands Property Group LLC.
One of the companies that was listed as $0 this year, The Cove at Blackberry Ridge LLC, was listed between $5 million and $25 million last year. That development was the subject of a Tennessee Valley Authority inspector general's report regarding a possible conflict of interest.
The Cove at Blackberry Ridge development asked the TVA for lake access rights. The problem was Shuler, a primary investor in the development, sits on a House subcommittee overseeing the TVA. The inspector general's report concluded that actions by TVA employees created the appearance of preferential treatment for Shuler, although it specifically noted it did not address any possible ethical violations by Shuler because the agency has no jurisdiction over a member of Congress.
Even without the conflict of interest, Shuler's opponents are pointing to the inconsistencies in his most recent financial disclosure as problematic. For one, the Blackberry development is no longer listed on its own. Secondly, its $5-25 million value has apparently dropped to $1-5 million even with the other real estate developments lumped in.