Who is Flannery? Farmland buyer spends $800M near Travis Air Force Base

Local mayor says firm plans Solano County city with “tens of thousands of new homes”

Feds Probe Flannery’s Farmland Buys Near Air Force Base
Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy and the Travis Air Force Base at 690 Airmen Drive (Facebook, Travis Air Force)

For five years, a Folsom company has spent $800 million to buy up 140 farms in Solano County, drawing national security concerns because they surround Travis Air Force Base.

Now a local mayor says Folsom-based Flannery Associates and its parent company, Flannery Holdings, have hatched a plan to build a new city, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy said she learned of a recent poll sent by Flannery to county residents, which describes the firm as  “led by a group of architects and planners” and “funded by a group of California firms and wealthy families.” 

The Flannery poll reportedly sent to residents says it plans to build “tens of thousands of new homes, a large solar energy farm, orchards with over a million new trees, and over 10,000 acres of new parks and open space,” according to Moy.

“As the mayor of Fairfield, I sit on countywide boards that have received Flannery offers to buy land at greatly inflated prices,” Moy wrote on Facebook. “We turned the offers away to protect Travis.”

Moy said she tried reaching out to the firm pushing the poll, but her email bounced back.

The company advertised in the poll that the new city would generate millions in tax revenue, cut energy bills and replace Solano County’s current aqueduct, Moy said. It also promised residents first pick of the new middle-class homes. 

The poll also suggested Flannery hopes to get its plans for the new city on next year’s ballot.

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But first, it will have to weather several federal inquiries into why it has been buying up so much land next to the military base.

State records show Flannery Associates and Flannery Holdings were incorporated in Delaware in 2018. Since then, the company has bought land in Solano County at premium rates — so much that in May the company filed a lawsuit against local landowners it claims conspired to overcharge the company.

In its complaint, Flannery says it has paid more than $800 million for 140 properties in the Jepson Prairie and Montezuma Hills, at times offering to pay more than $15,000 per acre.

Lawyers for families who sold land to Flannery even claimed in legal filings that they had no idea what the land would be used for. All but one of the properties are zoned for agricultural use.

In July, the Wall Street Journal reported the U.S. Air Force’s Foreign Investment Risk Review office had investigated Flannery’s purchases for eight months, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture also inquired about Flannery’s ownership. CNN reported this month that the federal Committee on Foreign Investment was also reviewing the land buys.

Flannery, with no known website, lists no CEO on its registration with the state and calls itself an agricultural business. An attorney for the company told the Journal that the company is controlled by U.S. citizens and gets 97 percent of its capital from U.S. investors, with the remainder coming from British and Irish investors.

— Dana Bartholomew

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