Pelosi’s disclosure belated in husband’s land deal

Partner is father of favored envoy

Chuck Neubauer
The Washington Times
10/10/2011

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s husband, a real estate developer and investment banker, stands to make millions of dollars in a previously undisclosed residential real estate project in California as a partner with the father of a woman Mrs. Pelosi helped become ambassador to Hungary, records show.

Paul F. Pelosi’s investment in Russell Ranch is worth at least $5 million and possibly as much as $25 million in a deal put together by his friend and longtime business associate, Angelo Tsakopoulos, patriarch of a multimillion-dollar real estate development firm, according to Mrs. Pelosi’s latest personal-disclosure statement.

Mr. Pelosi said in an email from his wife’s spokesman that initially he invested between $1 million and $5 million in the project a dozen years ago, although its value has shot up recently as the undeveloped land moves closer to being annexed by a nearby city. He said the Russell Ranch investment had increased in value less than 5 percent per year over the last dozen years.

Despite his involvement in the project dating back to the late 1990s, Mrs. Pelosi first listed the investment in May 2010 on her federal financial-disclosure forms covering the couple’s finances during 2009. The forms are required annually and are supposed to identify assets she and her husband have that are worth more than $1,000…

…a government watchdog said that even if it was not legally required, Mrs. Pelosi should have voluntarily disclosed the Russell Ranch investment earlier, at least by the time she was helping Mrs. Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis become an ambassador in November 2009. Mrs. Pelosi promised upon her election as House speaker in 2007 to lead “the most honest, most open, most ethical Congress in history.”

“She should take every effort to disclose anything that could pose a potential conflict of interest before she takes any formal action,” said Craig Holman, legislative representative for Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer-advocacy group…

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