Ben Westlund’s Failures

The Democrat Party of Oregon seems to be turning a blind eye to the business failures of one of their leading politician — Ben Westlund. I only call him a “politician” because our friends over at NW Republican uncovered the gem of a picture posted to the right yesterday.

This month, Westlund’s hometown paper — The Bulletin — has provided us quite the critique of the Senator and his business record (specifically a lot of failure).

I am assuming much of their coverage came about because of the amateur attempt by the Democrat Party to slander Allen Alley’s business success. That faux pas elicited this editorial on 7/19 out of Westlund’s hometown newsource:

How does the Democratic Party suppose Alley’s business background compares with Democratic opponent Ben Westlund’s? We just thought we’d ask.

But the question was not a rhetorical one. The paper has actually looked into Westlund’s business background. Here is what they found:

The son of a wealthy real estate developer, Westlund, 59, dabbled in several small business enterprises in Central Oregon dating back to 1974 “” but he also took some chances that he admits were based more on fun than profits, including a stake in the money-losing Bend Bandits baseball team from 1995 to 1997. He tried to be a concert promoter in 1983.

Great! We have a dude running for State Treasurer who likes to base his investments on fun more than profit. Just what this state needs”¦ more government waste!

This also clears up something I had long figured — Westlund is a trust fund baby with no clear business success.

The Bulletin researched several of Westlund’s failures. What were they? Well, there was his ranch near Mitchell about which the hometown paper had this to say:

But Juniper Butte Ranch was a failure, in part because Westlund could not get cheap feed and the early 1980s economy was in the toilet, he said.

“Quite frankly, we were probably a little bit naive going into a business we shouldn’t have been going into,” said Guy Mount, who was Westlund’s partner. “At the end of the day it didn’t work, and we all lost money on it.”

So now we have a dude who is niave and likes to invest for fun over profit? But wait — it get better. The Bulletin suggests Westlund’s dabbling in construction might raise some legal, financial, and honesty questions:

At about that time, he dabbled in the construction business and developed what were supposed to be 28 vacation condos and a house at Bend’s Broken Top.

That endeavor yielded a transaction that raises questions. In late 1994, he financed the purchase of the Broken Top house for $353,000, via a primary mortgage, which means the buyer must physically occupy the house he or she buys. However, Westlund’s family was living in Tumalo and never moved.

Asked about that loan, Westlund said his wife wanted to move to Broken Top at some point. But he said he had no idea that it was a potentially fraudulent loan and that he went through Bank of America Private Bank to get all his loans and was sure they did nothing illegal.

He inked a land-sale contract three months later, in February 1995, and then sold the house outright for $425,000 in August 1995, according to Deschutes County records.

Oh yeah, then there is Westlund’s baseball team:

Also in 1995, Westlund joined investors to buy an independent, minor league baseball team, the Bend Bandits, for $50,000. The team lost about $75,000 a year, he said, but the partners were able to sell it for $250,000 three years later, so almost broke even.

So we have a trust-fund baby who likes to invest for fun over profit, his old business partners call him “naïve,” he might have taken out a fraudulent mortgage, AND HE WANTS TO BE OUR STATE TREASURER!

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Posted by at 06:30 | Posted in Measure 37 | 13 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    Are you surprised? Few, if any, democrat politicians have EVER successfully run a business. It is simply not in their make up. It is hard work, for one thing, and you actually have to do hard things, like hire and fire people and use your own money to invest and grow your business.

    If democrat politicians were successful private sector people they would not constantly pass senseless legislation restricting businesses and how they operate.

  • RinoWatch

    I’ve been laughing at this “former” RINO for years. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad the caliber of “leadership” this state has endured.

    Rumor has it that Gentle Ben would ask Jane Cease to come out of retirement to assist him as Oregon State Treasurer. May God help us!

    If you hadn’t heard yet, another big pile of cash has been thrown away on the State Data Center.

  • Anon

    Westlund’s campaign slogan should be:

    Ben Westlund
    Failure. Naive. Fraud.

  • Anonymous

    It just shows us how non existent any genuine measurement of politicians there is. Of course there are many examples of others who are incredibly lacking in smarts, skills and judgment yet become politicians. There’s no question that field attracts many who have no business occupying ANY leadership or managerial role, period, in any arena.
    Most of the legislators, commission and council members I (and many others) have witnessed, exhibited an extraordinary absence of knowledge on issue after issue. Instead relying upon knee jerk impressions, buearucrat “explanations” and child like notions which they discuss as if they had expertise. The level of foolishness found in our representatives is a remarkable demonstration of the hopelessly misguided attemting to guide others.
    And with our newspapers “interpreting” for us, their work, they manage to maintain their adventures while telling each other those who point out how friggin stupid they are, are mean and the real problem.

  • Crawdude

    Westlund is a failure, lol! It would be only fitting if he were elected treasurer, it would show that Oregonians have crested the apathetic voter hill.

  • JHL

    Haha! Well if THIS isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is.

    Assuming the Bend Bulletin is to be taken for its word, here’s what the VERY SAME ARTICLE says about Allen Alley:

    “management decisions under his watch as chief executive were blamed for later sending the company — and its stock — into a tailspin. He also raised eyebrows for earning more than $1.2 million in salary in 2005, a year the company lost $42 million”

    “Alley stepped down as CEO in 2006 — after the company missed some product development deadlines and overpaid to acquire a California company”

    “The outlook for the company is now so grim that it faced delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange in June, until executives employed an accounting maneuver known as a “reverse stock split” to elevate the share price above $1. But since then, the stock has lost more than 30 percent of its value.”

    ““They repeatedly misexecuted,” said Tayyib Shah, a semiconductor industry analyst who tracks Pixelworks for Longbow Research in Cleveland. “There was a lack of execution in the core business in a fairly competitive space to begin with. … Then they attempted to dig themselves out of that hole they were in and made a poor decision.””

    ““Frankly, the decline in share price from over $20 per share to 60 cents per share over the past five years speaks volumes on the performance of the board and management,” said Marc Kozberg, general partner of Xenia Contrarian Partners.”

    … so what’s the story now… are we admitting that Allen Alley is ALSO a bad businessman, admitting that the Bulletin is just in a bad mood, or establishing a double standard?

  • Dave A.

    Sorry to say it folks; but Alley’s “record” at Pixelworks is equally as pathetic as Westlind’s business record. I got that information from several past employees of the company. Alley is a slimeball that left with a big payout that was not justified in any way.
    The bottom line is that BOTH of these guys SUCK BADLY and have no business running for a public finance office.

  • anon

    I never knew Staci Dycus and her minions were Oregon Catalyst readers. Welcome!

    • Crawdude

      Who is Staci Dycus?

  • anon

    Dycus was involved with bw’s run for governor. The run where he bailed out after Teddy paid him off.

  • Jerry

    Agreed. Both are among life’s losers.

  • Crawdude

    Maybe we should go without a state treasurer, this position seems to attract a lot of mouthbreathers.

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