Board of Governors Official Resigns after Real Estate Flap

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 9, 2011 | Go to article overview

Board of Governors Official Resigns after Real Estate Flap


Byline: Jim McElhatton, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Alan Kessler, a longtime member of the Board of Governors for the U.S. Postal Service, resigned last month just weeks after an investigation concluded he pressured postal officials in a real estate transaction involving a personal friend.

The probe by the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) found that Mr. Kessler used his position for more than a year to involve himself in a real estate dispute between USPS and an investment company in Florida.

The inspector general's investigation was first reported by the Federal Times, which obtained a copy of the findings through the Freedom of Information Act.

The probe centered on Mr. Kessler's involvement in a real estate deal between the USPS and a Florida investment company, Post Office Associates. At issue was a property in Sarasota that included a post office and vehicle maintenance facility.

The report said USPS sought to exercise its option to buy the property for $825,000. It was purchased for $575,000 in 1988, but was worth $12 million in 2008 and the company thought it should get more than what the post office was slated to spend.

Investigators said Mr. Kessler learned about the deal when he was contacted by Douglas Band, whose family members were partial owners of Post Office Associates, according to the report.

Mr. Kessler told investigators he knew Mr. Band through political ties to former President Bill Clinton, the report said. Mr. Kessler was a member of Mr. Clinton's transition team, and he served as a national finance chairman to then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. Mr. Band remains an aide to Mr. Clinton and served in the Clinton administration from 1995 to 2000.

According to the report, Mr. Kessler got himself involved internally at USPS in the land deal dispute in multiple instances. In one email to the USPS General Counsel Mary Anne Gibbons, Mr. Kessler warned that while he does not involve himself in day-to-day postal operations, he also said he doesn't hesitate to pass along matters of serious concern. …

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