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Irvine Co. Double-Deal Hurts Seniors

September 19, 1993

* It appears as though the Irvine Co. practices a double standard when it comes to dealing with senior citizens. In debating the issue of whether to sell the land beneath Bayside Village Mobile Home Park to the 265 elderly residents or to De Anza Assets Corp. (which currently holds the lease and plans to increase the rents by up to 47%), Irvine Co. Vice President of Development Tom Redwitz told Newport Beach City Council members that his company would prefer to sell the land to the residents. Really? Is that why the property's price tag was set at $12 million for the senior citizens (many on fixed incomes) and only $7.8 million for Beverly Hills-based De Anza?

The negotiations over this land sale have been going on for nearly four years and the residents began raising money to acquire it last March. Their bid for the property is still viable and their perseverance still formidable despite what reports say. But how can a coalition of senior citizens with finite capital and time deal with a dishonest megacompany that speaks out of both sides of its mouth and discounts the offer to the competition by 30%? That's unfair and contemptuous no matter who the bidders are! Even City Councilwoman Jean Watt, protesting with over 75 other citizens in front of the Irvine Co.'s Fashion Island office, was outraged at the underhanded deal, expressing on her sign that the City Council had been lied to. Is the Irvine Co. revealing its discriminatory policies here toward senior citizens? And should such blatant disregard for fair business practices be recognized and addressed by the community in which such a company operates?

CORY SHEPPARD

Costa Mesa

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