NewsMakingNews.com

NOTES FROM THE WATERFRONT
CARNEROS LODGE HAS NOT
BEEN APPROVED YET....

 


We thought this project was close to "judgment day" in July, but that wasn't the case. The August 20 hearing was continued, and a September 3 hearing merely permitted more public comment. The matter is now on the calendar for hearing by Napa County's Board of Supervisors on October 3.

Subsequent to the July 24, 2002 article in NewsMakingNews re: Carneros Lodge/Carneros Inn, the following appeared in mainstream press that has direct bearing on ultimate investors in this project:

1. The Wall Street Journal in a front page article on August 12, 2002, revealed Flip Maritz (co-founder of Maritz, Wolff & Company) as "mean-spirited" and "engaged in extortion." He was barred from holding a management position at his father's company, Maritz, Inc., and was removed from their board of directors.

When Carneros Inn/Lodge was first proposed, Maritz, Wolff & Company + Saudi Prince Alwaleed's Four Seasons Hotels were behind the project from at least 1998 through the spring of 2001. This is a public corporation -- like "hello, Securities & Exchange Commission, something funny is happening in Napa County at the expense of taxpayers and other investors in Four Seasons stock." The Carneros Inn/Lodge projects were then shifted for eventual "take out" to companion Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which again is SPO Partners via Maritz, Wollf & Company + Saudi royal-related interests and Howard Hunt's daughter. As a private hotelier, Rosewood is not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission where whistles could have sounded about this project. The very private Rosewood Hotels has 2 resort/hotels (Saudi Arabia's most exclusive) in Riyadh, 3 in the tax- haven Cayman Islands, 1 in Cabo, 1 in Jakarta, 1 in a remote British Columbia location, and 1 in St. Moritz. We may have overlooked one or two, but you can visit their website at http://www.rosewoodhotels.com.

One of their U.S. projects, Acqualina in Sunny Isles, FL, can only be described as "arabesque" in influence and design. Visit the Web site at http://www.acqualina.com/about.htm. It's a combined luxury resort hotel/condominium project.

2. On August 13, 2002, "The San Francisco Chronicle" featured an article on Planet Hollywood (restaurant chain). It revealed that stockholder and franchisee Prince Alwaleed is responsible for this public company's demise because he never paid required franchise fees or monies back to the parent corporation. Also keep in mind that Prince Alwaleed has investments in a number of companies played for all they were worth (or weren't worth, as the case may be) including AOL, drugstore.com, amazon.com, priceline.com and at least a handful of others that are subject to class action litigation. The artful scheme of looking like a long-term investor ("I was damaged too") while having a team play "short sell" on the side is the subject of a complaint filed against Adnan Khashoggi and Rami Al-Batrawi in GenesisIntermedia.

On Sunday, August 31, CBS "60 Minutes re-ran its interview with Prince Alwaleed whose attitude, at best, is arrogant. On September 7, CBS "60 Minutes" aired an interview with Saudi Prince Sultan, Defense Minister, that revealed Saudi Arabia's choice more than 20 years ago to leave secular education behind in favor of imams control so that education included little more than religious studies. This also explains why plane-loads of Saudi children are flown to Children's Hospital in Oakland for care, with the Saudis paying handsome sums in cash, to the detriment of bed space for our own children covered by fee-conscious insurance companies. The Saudis haven't bothered training nurses, doctors, technicians, or anyone for that matter. Prince Alwaleed commented that "religion isn't a job and we need to put our people to work." While these appear to be sageful words, Prince Alwaleed isn't in charge. Just who is in charge or will be is the subject of much debate.

For those of you who remember the notorious Adnan Khashoggi, Ron Kessler in "The Richest Man in the World," remind us that Adnan set up his Triad Corp. offices in Palo Alto in 1973, and by 1976 was in full swing with his arms deals for "The Company," a splinter group of CIA clandestines more famously known for their "arms out, drugs in deals."  In 1975, intell asset Khashoggi began further nurturing Prince Alwaleed, who enrolled in Menlo College. The Prince graduated in 1979. Adnan hovered about, and the Prince drew no small manner of attention. Parties at the royal's digs were not always princely and there would be an occasional flap about behavior problems. "Court" was held at Mac's Tea Room in downtown Los Altos, to the shock and dismay of displaced regulars. 

When George Bush described his reasons for removing Iraq's Saddam Hussein, he listed them as (1) human rights violations (2) harboring terrorists and (3) a totalitarian regime. Sounded to many as though he was describing Saudi Arabia. None of the terrorists came from Iraq, while 15 of the 19 hijackers did. Bush actually determined before the election in November 2000 that he would attack Iraq, as noted in the "Times Herald," a premier London newspaper: "Bush planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President" (15 September 2002)
http://www.sundayherald.com/27735

3. On August 13 and August 14, 2002, several articles appeared about Walt Disney Corporation, noting a shuffling of the board of some long-timers as imminent, and its Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner likely to be "out the door" soon. It was revealed that Board members had put their adult children on the payroll at high incomes and didn't disclose this to stockholders. In addition, they were aware that the Bass Brothers had an illegal controlling interest in Walt Disney Corp (9%) while mandated by the Department of Justice to never have a controlling interest per agreements of 1995/6 with the merger of ABC/Capital Cities. Prince Alwaleed owns a substantial interest in Euro-Disney and bailed out Eisner and the Bass Brothers by investing in the project in 1994. They've been fellow rat-packers for years.

4. On August 16, 2002, all major papers carried news of Ron Motley's lawsuit filed on behalf of victims of the September 11 attack, seeking $1 trillion and naming the Saudi royal family, of which Prince Alwaleed is a ranking member.

Prince Alwaleed owns 9% of the stock of Citigroup (Citibank) that along with J.P. Morgan Chase Manhattan Bank will likely be sued for billions by employees, stockholders and creditors of Enron Corp. Both banks were found by the U.S. Senate on July 23, 2002 to have been complicit with Enron in creating schemes to remove debt from the balance sheet and mis-classify money conduited as "revenues" instead. Mainstream press recently announced two Wall Street banks were served with "Wells letters" by the SEC, and of course speculation quickly reduced to Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase. Prince Alwaleed's controlling interest in Citigroup was initially secreted in 1991 by The Carlyle Group; foreign control of U.S. banks was barred, so the deal remained hush-hush for some time.

The Carlyle Group is now attempting to purchase the British government's defense laboratories, and right there among them is Prince Alwaleed, as noted below.

"Few were surprised when the Carlyle Group emerged at the head of the stampede to acquire the QinetiQ stake, beating fierce competition from a reputed 40 firms. Carlyle is one of the biggest venture capital groups, a leviathan that commands respect and inspires awe in equal parts. Chaired by former US Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, the group's tentacles spread far and wide.

John Major, George Bush Sr. and his former Secretary of State, James Baker, are on its payroll. Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and ex-Bundesbank president Karl Otto Pohl are among its advisers. Besides the bin Laden family, which has disowned Osama, it has managed funds for Prince Alwaleed and the likes of George Soros, earning its investors spectacular returns by taking strategic stakes in everything from Socpresse, parent company of French newspaper Le Figaro, to a subsidiary of the Japanese supermarket giant Daiei."
http://www.observer.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,792196,00.html

A few interviews with folks in Pacific Heights found some perplexed about why water is such an issue in Napa County. One even offered that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi could probably solve that problem by getting an aqueduct because she is on the House Appropriations Committee. That doesn't sound good, with her niece showing up as a pro-Carneros Lodger. It looks more like using taxpayer money to advance one's own agenda for personal or family gain, though their exact status isn't known.  Developer Rogal has refused to name investors. These people don't even think deals like that are "wrong," regardless of Napa's codes that are protective of agriculture. 

The above information is offered to give pause for reflection on who would be enriching politicians and judges among investors in this criminally-oriented Carneros Inn/Carneros Lodge scheme. San Francisco Supervisor and mayor-apparent Gavin Newsom would be beholding to the same Saudi combine currently being sued by Ron Motley for alleged involvements in the September 11 terrorist attack -- an assault on our people. And they expect Napa County and San Francisco voters to embrace them? Such is often the case when voters remain ignorant, as the Newsoms hope for Gavin's political future.

As to the term "criminally-oriented," we have little difficulty proving our point on this one:

In October 2000, the first phase of the project (which was secreted from the public as a first phase of anything bigger) was approved by Napa County Planning Commission for 16.1 acres of land to permit: 96-Recreation Vehicle sites, 1-45 seat restaurant, and 24 mobile homes. The request was made as a modification of an existing Use Permit. The modification included a modest expansion of restaurant seating and the addition of 1 mobile home on a parcel zoned for "23 units of manufactured housing." The campground had been approved in 1990, but was abandoned when a deal with Kampgrounds of America fell through. But don't we have developer Keith Rogal's own financier and architect providing proof of their intention to ignore the law and do as they wish (criminal behavior indeed)?

1. This choice Press Release by financier-coordinator Buchanan Street Partners dated March 28, 2002: http://www.buchananstreet.com/publications/press_032802_CarnerosInn.asp

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kelly A. Fallucca
Buchanan Street Partners
(949) 219-1593
[email protected]

CARNEROS INN CLOSES ON CONSTRUCTION FINANCING

Newport Beach, CA (March 28, 2002) - Buchanan Street Partners arranged $26.9 million in construction financing on behalf of Carneros Partners for the development of the Carneros Inn, a 96-room luxury resort hotel. Set among 16 acres in the vineyards of the Carneros District in California’s famed Napa Valley, the property will also include 24 luxury homes. The Carneros Inn will offer two restaurants, a first class spa facility, meeting space, and extensive landscaping to complement the spectacular views of the surrounding wine region. The architectural theme for the resort is reminiscent of Napa’s agricultural period in the 1940s.

Buchanan Street Partners is a West Coast-based real estate investment bank that is headquartered in Newport Beach with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It provides both investment management services for institutional and private investors as well as fee based advisory services to real estate developers.

The $30 million above far exceeds the $3 million that would be required for the simple modifications approved by the Planning Commission in 2000. Where did the 96-room resort hotel, spa, 2 restaurants and meeting places come from? On September 3 we learned that the project isn't set among the vineyards for guest views so much, as set behind 12 foot walls for protection from the noise of a busy highway. These walls will do a good job of pooling the noises of the revving engines of neighboring wind machines and helicopter spraying activities. One ground for rejecting a project could be application of Recreation Codes (after all, they have a lap pool, spa, biking, park-like grounds, and want to include the Ag-Watershed parcel. Since they keep including it in plans, after formally ceding it, why not hit them with the codes). These codes don't permit projects that would be bothered by agricultural operations, or projects that are growth inducing or don't serve local needs (pool, pool house, and spa are off-limits except to resort guests). 

18.104.390 Outdoor Recreation -- Findings

In addition to findings required by Section 18.124.070, the approving agency must make ALL the following findings prior to issuance of a use permit for parks or rural recreation facilities or campgrounds:

A. The use is shown by evidence in the record to be appropriately located.

B. There is a demonstrated need for the use within the county.

C. The use does not significantly affect the ability to conduct existing agriculture uses on site or nearby.

D. The use does not significantly affect potential agricultural operations on site or nearby.

E. The use itself would not be adversely affected by adjacent agricultural activities.

F. The use is not growth-inducing.

G. The use serves local needs (Ordinance 1105 14.1996)

The Use Permit application was actually made by "Carneros Partners" to hide the concept of "inn" or "resort" from the public during the course of its presentation. It only "slipped out" as the proper name during the course of this appeal. In fact, the extant appeal surfaced as "Carneros Inn" in 2001 and mid-stream in the appeal process Rogal started referring to it as Carneros Lodge. Carneros Lodge was created months after the project was approved by the Planning Commission August 1, 2001.

2. This equally revealing description of the combined Carneros Inn and Carneros Lodge project was posted July, 2002 by project architect William Rawn Associates of Boston, Keith Rogal's hometown helpers: A 146-room resort development on 27 acres with 24 luxury homes is depicted.  http://www.rawnarch.com/design7.html

That would be the 96 recreational vehicles and 24 mobile homes on 16.1 acres above, plus 50 rooms/cottages on the 8.53 acres of commercial property (their proposal for Carneros Lodge in July). But what's wrong with this picture? Also included is the 2-acre Ag-Watershed parcel that was ceded by developer Keith Rogal on March 26, 2002 to prevent a Measure J violation.

They have also moved tons of earth onto the Ag-Watershed parcel, and cut a road across a portion of it. Rogal has installed a sign at what is supposed to be the permanent entrance to the project off Highway 12/121 that read "Temporary Entrance to Carneros Inn." Did this mean they intend to use the Ag-Watershed parcel on Old Sonoma Road for their "Permanent Entrance to Carneros Inn?" One wonders, for two large posts were placed on the Ag-Watershed parcel as though to feature a sign boasting of a project that isn't even visible from Old Sonoma Road by Dealy Lane where the posts sit.  Last week, "Temporary" was removed from the sign.

Both the intent and the behavior indeed appear criminal, and moving more into the realm of a repeat pattern of criminal behavior. It hardly appears wise for Napa County's Board of Supervisors to entangle themselves on the side of this bunch. The developer at minimum charms county staff into violations, or hires them as they did Deputy Planning Director Mike Miller, and then suggests the county erred by their deeds. Since when do two wrongs make a right? Multiple wrongs by the same group look more like an enterprise spearheaded by the developer and his investors.

A hearing was held September 3, and again information was presented to the Board of Supervisors by both sides. True to form, what is known as the "revolving door" Planning Department that has already seen the resignation of at least 4 parties close to the developer, provided a staff report that endorsed the project. We have little doubt the Board is carefully watching the maneuvers of Planning Department staff that continues to rely almost exclusively on information bought and paid for by the developer, rather than county input or independent studies, let alone input provided by the public from various experts, including a licensed hydro geologist.

That day a "straw vote" termed "tentative" was taken by the Board with reference to how many rooms they felt they could live with at the Lodge site, pending their review of water issues, the record, and findings. The room count was 25.

It was made clear that the meeting remained open for public comment, yet here is what was produced by "The Napa Valley Register" the day after. In attendance that day was reporter Nathan Crabbe and also the paper's editor Doug Ernst. Since Carneros Lodge was a huge advertising sponsor this past spring, was the local paper trying to put a chill on project opponents? Or were they trying to help Carneros Inn/Lodge's timeshare subscriptions or endeavors to round up more investors? There's no excuse for the following:

Carneros Lodge plan slashed, then approved Wednesday, © September 4, 2002
By NATHAN CRABBE, Napa Register Staff Writer

A shrunken Carneros Lodge project received supervisors' approval Tuesday, after board members slashed rooms by three-quarters and reduced conference and retail space in response to community criticism.

The Napa County Board of  Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of the modified project, with Supervisor Mark Luce as the only dissenting vote. The lodge would include 25 rooms, down from 100 initially proposed, at the intersection of Carneros and Old Sonoma highways.

The project was approved last August by the Planning Commission, but was appealed to the board by slow-growth advocates and neighbors. The newly approved plan would shrink the conference center to match the reduced number of rooms and cut retail space to 2,500 square feet from 5,000, but keep a restaurant, post office and other aspects of the original proposal.

After a day-long special meeting of the board, project opponents appeared elated by the decision. Eve Kahn of Get a Grip on Growth said the board took into consideration concerns about depleted groundwater and increased traffic in changing the project.

"The issue is not whether we hate this resort, the issue is (it was) too big for the infrastructure," Kahn said.

Project developer Keith Rogal refused to comment after the decision, including on whether he would sue the county over it. Rogal and his gaggle of attorneys, consultants and project supporters rushed out of board chambers after the vote with visible expressions of disgust on some of their faces.

Rogal spoke only briefly during the more than four hour meeting, while neighbors and other area residents repeatedly blasted the project. "This is incredible. This is insane," one project supporter was heard telling another as an opponent spoke.

In addition to the changes, supervisors added a series of requirements to the project, which will receive a technical final vote on Oct. 1. They include requiring owners to shut down rooms and restaurant space if water projections are exceeded, adding lanes to roads and other changes to address traffic concerns and legally tying together the three land parcels involved in the project so that one piece could not be separated and sold.

Water was the main issue of concern for opponents. Will Nord, who developed Carneros vineyards in the 1970s during an era of drought, said the project's wells could be pumped down to saltwater under similarly dry conditions.

Kahn presented new figures to show the developer failed to properly account for the project's water use. "The water use is definitely right on the edge, if not over the edge very quickly," she said.

But some area grape growers testified they found abundant groundwater when digging wells. Francis Mahoney, who owns vineyards near project, said he planted those grapes after he was wrongly told there was no water.

"You've got to take a chance like I took a chance," Mahoney said.

The uncertainty inspired board members to discuss a new effort to gauge Carneros groundwater. Supervisor Mel Varrelman said an area-wide study should be conducted.

"Nobody really knows whether there's water there or not," Varrelman said.

One concern of opponents was that water use projections didn't include the 120-unit Carneros Inn project. The inn is to be integrated with the lodge, but was approved more than a decade ago and modified in 1998 to fit the new project.

Supervisor Mike Rippey said those 120 units would cause strain on groundwater and tried to eliminate all rooms in the lodge, but backed off after a closed session with county legal counsel. He called the project "a significant commercial operation" that "will have an urbanizing effect" on the rural area.

"I remain firm that I think it's too much for the parcel," Rippey said.

Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht, who represents the district where the project would be built, said the changes lessen water use and adequately respond to concerns over traffic.

"This is the best we're going to be able to do at this point," Wagenknecht said.

Nathan Crabbe can be reached at 256-2260 or
Url:
http://www.napanews.com/templates/index.cfm?template=story_full&id=D24B2223-E20D-428B-B4D2-D2C062A6FB9B

It absolutely looks as though Nathan Crabbe attended a different meeting. In fact, developer Keith Rogal, noting the recommendation of staff to approve the project, even had a small entourage of Lodge project groupies, the first time we've seen any since March 12. Rogal's father flew out from Boston for the event, commenting it was his 6th trip related to hearings on this matter. What event? It was an event for Rogal to appear with six attorneys, introducing a new one hailing from Sacramento, who accused the opposition of "lying" about each of dozens of points raised. Meanwhile, the opposition's counsel was inconveniently stuck in court that afternoon. Seems people behind the scenes were working overtime to truncate opposition. This new and bold Sacramento-wired CEQA attorney kept reminding the Board "when I'm before the black robes" or "when I present this to judges" as though he's God almighty, or former Judge Newsom has already cleared the way through the courts. He even said he knew what the judges would say.

Keith Rogal called Get a Grip's Ginny Sims a liar when she said the project also featured time shares (as to Carneros Inn) which were never approved. Actually, even members of the county's staff were advised to make calls of inquiry and hear Rogal's crew touting time shares! While links to many sites are now cut, online we still find Carneros Inn featured at timeshares.com. Give it a whirl.

But talk about power! In our last issue we noted that links to various articles had been cut, and we pasted in descriptions that appeared on the index at google.com. After the July issue went online, google.com even erased all evidence of the descriptions on their index, but it's already in Napa County records. Now son of a gun, removing the admissions of the miscreants, evidence of their own false assertions, shows real clout. So, are they going to cut links and remove references from indexes to buchananstreet.com or rawnarch.com from Lycos.com search engines? From Altavista.com search engines? Beat them to it, prove they at least exist now by going to the sites, printing a copy of the index generated when "Carneros Inn" is input, and "Carneros Lodge" is input, and then print articles from the linked sites.

Procedures in Napa County require that the Board of Supervisors make findings before it closes its meeting and deliberates. The next scheduled hearing is October 3, 2002 and we'll keep you posted. Hopefully some of those findings will be "intent to develop in violation of the law," "enforcement problem," and others that serve as good reasons to reject the application. And that's all this is. AN APPLICATION for a Use Permit, nothing more, nothing less. Unlawful conduct cutting a road through the Ag-Watershed parcel -- false application -- gives reasons for rejection of an application. Let's see if the Board of Supervisors agrees.


Carneros Inn Resort:  Napa County California:

This proposed 27-acre hotel and mixed-use development is located on Highway 121, between the Sonoma and Napa Valley wine regions. The resort includes approximately 146 guest rooms, 24 courtyard houses, meeting and special-event space, health and recreation facilities, guest and public dining, a local food and wine market, and public gathering space

NOTES FROM THE WATERFRONT News and Views about Napa Valley, California Click.