Probe of FDIC contract urged by watchdog group

In her letter, Ms. Sloan of CREW said that according to real estate experts, “the contract contains a number of highly favorable terms, at least some of which are unusual for these kind of contracts and not typically available to real estate companies involved in comparable contracts.”

She said the terms of the FDIC contract “suggest a ‘sweetheart deal’ that may have been awarded for an improper purpose.”

“The circumstances surrounding the FDIC’s contract with CBRE, including the possible intervention of Senator Feinstein, the contract’s unusually favorable terms, and that fact that CBRE is a commercial real estate firm less experienced in selling foreclosed properties, suggest there may have been some impropriety in the award process,” she said.

Mr. Duran said Ms. Feinstein played no role in the awarding of the FDIC contract.

CBRE is the nation’s largest commercial real estate services firm.

Last week, a grass-roots organization, Americans for Limited Government (ALG) called on the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Ms. Feinstein for what it described as “this apparent conflict of interest.”

“They must ensure that this government contract was not awarded in return for the senator introducing legislation favored by FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair,” ALG President Bill Wilson said. “While the Senate considers legislation offered by Senator Feinstein to funnel money to the FDIC, what it should really be considering is whether she did so because her husband is doing profitable business with the FDIC.”

Mr. Duran has said there was no conflict and that Ms. Feinstein has complied with all the Senate ethics rules.

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