'Mysterious' $800M land purchase near Travis AFB prompts legislation, concern over foreign threat

Stephanie Sierra Image
Friday, August 4, 2023
$800M land purchase near Travis AFB prompts legislation
The "mysterious" $800 million land purchase near Travis AFB by Flannery Associates LLC has prompted new legislation and concerns over foreign threats.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The mysterious company that's purchased nearly $1 billion worth of real estate near Travis Air Force Base has prompted federal legislation that would mandate more transparency with foreign real estate transactions. This comes as federal investigators are looking into a type of Chinese malware that could disrupt military operations across the country.

It's being described as the most massive, yet mysterious land purchase to encroach on one of the nation's most critical military bases. And no one knows why.

"It goes without saying that we should all be concerned about that from a national security perspective," said Rep. Mike Thompson, (D-CA).

RELATED: 'Mystery company' buys $800M worth of land near Travis AFB, raising concerns about national security

"We're very, very concerned about this." A Solano County congressman is sounding the alarm about a mystery company that has bought $800 million of land near Travis AFB.

Since 2018 Flannery Associates LLC has purchased nearly 55,000 acres of farmland in Solano County. For years the land acquired - which is nearly double the size of San Francisco - just sat there.

And today its future still remains unknown.

The ABC7 News I-Team has confirmed the company has yet to pull any permits to signal new development or change of land use.

"This mysterious entity is unwilling to disclose to anyone, local, state or federal what it is they're doing and why they're doing it," Thompson said. "You'd think they would want to cooperate... I've never seen anything like it."

The mystery surrounding such a critical military base is what prompted Congressman Thompson to introduce bipartisan legislation to enhance investigation of any land purchase near military bases, national security sites, and critical infrastructure.

"Currently, there's a process by which any investment can be scrutinized for any type of foreign participation," Thompson said. "We learned that the process and the laws that govern that have limitations."

According to the U.S. Dept. of Treasury, the "Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S." or CFIUS is authorized to review certain foreign investments and foreign real estate transactions. CFIUS has an entire team designated to verify the origin of foreign investments and the origin of their investors.

RELATED: Nearly $1B 'mystery' land purchase near Travis AFB shows lack of federal transparency, officials say

Flannery Associates' nearly $1 billion land purchase near Travis Air Force Base remains mystery and lacks federal transparency, according to official.

But some of those transactions have been overlooked.

Last year a Chinese manufacturing company purchased land near a military base in North Dakota raising national security concerns. CFIUS claimed it was unable to review it, nor block it because the land was outside the scope of their jurisdiction.

"So what we're trying to do is expand that to give federal agencies more ability to be able to look into these purchases," said Thompson.

The I-Team's analysis of public records has found several other investment firms have purchased land near Travis Air Force Base - one of which has ties to China and experience with advanced coding. Federal officials confirmed to the I-Team that they're investigating a type of Chinese malware that has the potential to disrupt military operations across the U.S.

Stephanie Sierra: "Do you have any sense that we should be concerned about Travis Air Force Base being impacted by this Chinese malware?"

Rep. Thompson: "I think that's precisely why we are all interested in this."

Sierra: "How will you ensure that CFIUS makes sure nothing gets swept under the rug?"

Rep. Thompson: "There needs to be more communication between the different entities that participate in this investigation. I've shared information with them that they didn't have... and that's not the way this should be done. They should have access to everything. They should be talking to one another."

The attorney representing Flannery Associates said: "There is no foreign person or group that holds any significant interest or substantial control over Flannery."

Federal officials told the I-Team investigators have been unable to independently verify that statement.

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