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Monday, June 7, 2010

More on Dan Saltzman's loot

After his BFFs at Willy Week (mayoral endorsement pending) wrote about Portland city commissioner Dan Saltzman's real estate bazillions last week, we asked the state government ethics office for our own copy of "Legend" Dan's annual financial disclosure statement, filed in April. It showed up Friday afternoon, and we're posting it here.

Here's his reported income for 2009:

The file we got from the state is hard to read -- at our age, we needed a magnifying glass for some of the numbers -- but our calculator comes up with $789,972. That was the aggregate of the "partner distributions" from seven LLCs and a limited partnership -- all of them save for one (which distributed only $21 to him) located at 1800 SW First Avenue, down on the streetcar line near the Portland Plaza complex. Also included is a "shareholder distribution," from an LLC at the same address. (No explanation was offered for the odd terminology -- usually, LLC owners are referred to as "members.")

It's interesting that the reported amounts are Saltzman's distributions. There's a distinction made in partnership and LLC accounting between income and distributions. The former is the share of partnership profit that was credited to the partner's capital account; the latter is the cash actually paid out to the partner. The two are not the same. If a partnership makes a ton of dough and pours it into new assets, that's still the partners' income, even though they received no cash. On the other hand, partnerships can make distributions to partners even in years in which they lose money. It appears Saltzman reported cash flow.

That is one heck of a fat cash flow. And Dan owns only 20% or 25% of these companies. If the distributions to partners were pro rata, the family raked in well north of $3 million for the year. This recession is so tough.

It's interesting that "Legend" also reported the amount of income from each source, whereas the state form requires only that the office holder "[i]dentify the sources of income... that produced 10% or more of the total annual household income."

On a related front, the disclosure statements show that the commish has interests in 17 different real estate companies, all at that same address:

Here, the instructions ask only for "all real property... in which... you... had any ownership interest,... located within the geographical boundaries of the public entity you serve." Since some of the entities that threw off distributions during the year are not listed among these 17 entities, this latter list may be only the Saltzman entities that own real estate within the Portland city limits. Who knows how many other real estate investments there are in the clan?

We were hoping to find some similar fireworks in the other commissioners' reports -- or in those of the Multnomah County commissioners -- but no dice, it's pretty mundane stuff.

In any event, for the Google search engine, here are the names of all the Saltzman companies typed out in HTML characters. It would be interesting to comb through the City Council records sometime and see if any of them crop up in city transactions. Have fun, internet sleuthers:

Sources of income: Boeckman Road LLC, Orchards Center LLC, Foxborough LLC, Gallery Park LLC, Salish Lake LLC, AllianceBernstein Holding LP, Bridgeport Commons LLC, Westlake Meadows LLC, Hastings Ranch LLC.

Real property interests: Gallery Park LLC, Five Oaks Drive LLC, Lincoln Street LLC, Saltzman Properties LLC, Orchards Center LLC, Foxborough LLC, Boeckman Road LLC, Salish Lake LLC, Hastings Ranch LLC, Westlake Meadows LLC, Oregon Pacific Capital Management Corp., Bridgeport Commons LLC, Westfal LLC, Goosehollow Townhomes LLC, 12th & Pearl LLC, OP Pearl LLC, Oregon Pacific Investment & Development (real estate investment corporation), partner in First Harrison Company, Parkside Plaza, Saltzman Properties, VLF LLC, and Parkside Center.

Comments (23)

He must be smarter than he looks, or some female (or male) gold-digger would have married him by now.
OR maybe he is just too creepy, even for that much money!

Danny is benefiting from granddad's money. I'd love to know how many of his votes affect his properties. They own all of the properties he is in..

It's typical practice to form a different legal partnership for each real estate deal. It limits the liability should one of them go bad.

There you go again, picking on some guy who was born on third base, imagines he tripled, and fantasizes stealing home.

Instead of innuendo about corrupt proclivities, it would be useful to identify Mr Saltzman's core political beliefs -- something no local journalistic enterprise has endeavored to investigate, or at least publish.

"Danny is benefiting from granddad's money."

To clarify, Jack Saltzman started Oregon Pacific Investment, they own most all of those properties. It's pretty passive income for Danny-boy.

"useful to identify Mr Saltzman's core political beliefs"

Getting re-elected by appealing to every fringe group in town in exchange for votes.

Otherwise, he's like Zelig.

It's wise to have a different legal entity for all income properties you own, no matter their size. It is good practice from duplex's on up to multi-million dollar properties.

It is still a work in progress... but I am working on some campaign finance tools that are not available in ORESTAR.

Right now you can easily see all the transactions of PDX city council members since the end of 2006 (when ORESTAR came on line).

What is really interesting is when you look at 2 candidates compared to one another and see the number of the same people who gave to both.

For a direct link to Saltzman's ORESTAR you can click here:

This is where one would like to have more detailed disclosure about the nature and operations of the entities. The second report should have to show the value of the assets involved (owning 30% of a $100K property is a lot different than having a 30% interest in a $100 Million property).

It's interesting that nine of his partnership/shareholder interests in the second report didn't have any income (or at least didn't distribute any cash) to Saltzman:

Five Oaks Drive LLC
Lincoln Street, LLC
Saltzman Properties
Oregon Pacific Capital Management Group
Oregon Pacific Investment & Development
12th and Pearl LLC
Pearl LLC
Goosehollow Townhomes LLC
Westfal LLC

Nor did four of the five entities of which the corporation is a partner (Parkside Plaza, Parkside Center, VLF, and First Harrison Co.).

That doesn't mean that he didn't derive any economic benefit (including tax benefits) from them. The nature of these benefits should be disclosed.

Based on these lists, it would be interesting to see how he voted on matters concerning the Pearl District, among other aspects of downtown redevelopment.

Do any of these LLCs, corporations, or companies qualify as a "small business?"

Can Mr Saltzman qualify as a "Small Business Owner" by his participation in the enterprises listed above?

Is there another enterprise owned by Mr Saltzman but not listed above in Sources of Income that qualifies as a "small business?"

Do any of these LLCs, corporations, or companies qualify as a "small business?"

That probably depends on whose definition you are holding them to. In general, probably "yes". Small businesses have incomes into many millions of dollars.

But specifically, if you want a look at what the Small Business Administration uses in its guidelines for what constitutes a small business, here's a chart in PDF form (real estate firms are on p. 30):

It's great that the old generation of Saltzmans had the acumen and foresight to invest wisely so as to benefit their kids and grandkids. And a scion of a family of developers sitting on the Council isn't really that unusual, given that Portland has been one big real estate gig going back to the Donation Land Claim Act. And to be fair, it's not like Dan is hiding any of this.

I just question whether any of this wealth influences his Council votes. Would he have supported the Tram and Merrit Paulson's World Cup dreams if he and his family's partners didn't stand to benefit? Can he be immune to family members and their partners tugging his elbow and asking him for a favor or two?

It seems like he's a passive player in all of these partnerships, so maybe he can be truly objective and hands-off, but I'm skeptical. I'd like to see a list of development projects funded or supported by the City during his Council tenure that he HASN'T (in the end after a big public show of restraint and deliberation) voted for.

I really don’t like Saltzman. I have made a lot of negative remarks about him on this website including that he was a trust fund child. I do however find it inappropriate to question or comment on the amount of money he makes. If his income is legal and no one yet has proven that he has influenced any city function to further his income then I think we cannot criticize the amount. It is ok to imply that being a trust fund child he doesn’t have a clue about what the average Portlander needs, but is the amount of money he makes proportional to his cluelessness. If so, show a correlation. I think making remarks about the female company he keeps is also off limits. If they are not seventeen and his adventures are not inappropriate we should not make that relevant to his job performance. Even if we snicker in private.


I agree with you to a point. Some things should be off limits in criticizing Saltzman and the other Council members. None of us would like to be subjected to hurtful snark, and we're all lucky we don't live under the stricter libel laws in the UK or Jack and many of us that post here would have been hauled into court by now.

In this particular case, though, I would argue that Dan's income IS a relevant line of inquiry, not so much the amount but the source. He's a partner -- however removed and passive -- in real estate entities that are affected in a material way by actions taken by the City Council. It is fair to ask if he has constructed a solid enough "Chinese wall" between his family's interests and the City legislation he creates or signs off on and the departments he manages. In the same way, it is fair to ask if Leonard's pension from the Fire Bureau makes him overly solicitous to firefighters (like getting them a new fireboat in a recession and not fighting hard to keep the city from having to pay lost wages to that firefighter that skipped out on disability). Adam's personal bankruptcy is tougher; I mostly think it should not be a matter of public discussion, but there's a case to be made (but I won't make it) that it might reflect on how he spends public monies.

Jasun Wurster,
There's nothing new or unusual about business interests giving money to all the viable candidates in a council race. They do it all the time. It's how they hedge their bets.

"Small Business Administration uses in its guidelines for what constitutes a small business"

SBA loans don't cover property for inventory like rentals. If you use a SBA loan to buy a building you have to operate you biz out of at least 51% of it.

Oregon Pacific is in the biz of buying properties and running them as landlords all over the place (Bend, Cali) and type (apartments, commercial, industrial.)

I don't think Saltzman has a major say in what they buy, but my guess is that he owns about a 20% share, so does get a vote.

Hi Robert,

I agree that individuals and businesses 'hedge their bets' by donating to those in office.

However, what I am trying to highlight is the same group of people who donate to campaigns to get access to, oh, say 3 out of 5 commissioners on city council.

This is a very small group of businesses and individuals. Take Randy Leonard for example, he has less than 80 entries for campaign donations that are very large. He also has donated money from his campaign to other campaigns.

This is building a power base of businesses who 'hedge their bets' with a majority of those in power.

It would be very interesting to see how those best pay off when cross referenced to city contracts.

I . . . find it inappropriate to question or comment on the amount of money he makes.

If greed is good, how can envy be not?

"And to be fair, it's not like Dan is hiding any of this."

Compare that with funneling money to the group that his girlfriend works as a fund-raiser for and not telling anyone.

Discuss. You can also tell me the good things Saltzman has done for the city.

Saltzman strikes me as kind of a dumb-ass with his reaction to the police problems and then being stupid enough to tell everyone the city needs Sam and a year later Sam snakes him out right before re-election.

It's just too bad that all that money did not produce a person who is independent, intelligent and wise. Dan is just an unwitting schill for Portland's moneyed interests. Never has an MIT degree been so wasted...

I want to see this kind of form filled out for Sten. His finances are much more questionable imho.

I recognize several of the LLC names in the second list as being the same as properties that are outside of Portland. It would appear that he is going above and beyond the requirement by listing all of them.

I don't know why anybody would be surprised. Some of the most outspoken progressives are living off inherited money. That's why they are ambivalent about higher tax rates: they've got more than they can spend, so why worry?

Like Carlos Slim said, "A poor politician is a poor politician."


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