Post Tagged with: "Yiqian Funding"

I-73, Indian Wells Controversies Highlight Council Agenda

June 17, 2019 7:11 AM
I-73, Indian Wells Controversies Highlight Council Agenda

The agenda for Tuesday night’s regular meeting of Horry County Council has only two items of consequence on it.

Under Old and New Business, council will discuss the Financial Participation Agreement with the South Carolina Department of Transportation for the I-73 project.

The agreement has been in effect since December 2018 when it was signed by former administrator Chris Eldridge for the county after receiving council approval to do so. However, the real date for its beginning is the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2019.

Generally the agreement provides that Horry County will provide up to $25 million per year from Hospitality Fee revenues to fund the construction of I-73 within Horry County (the Project) and SCDOT will oversee the project from design through construction.

The written agreement states, “SCDOT shall provide an Annual Work Plan to the county on the activities proposed by March 31 that the county shall approve prior to June 30 before commencing work in the succeeding fiscal year.”

SCDOT provided a work plan for next fiscal year which allots $6 million for engineering services and $6.5 million for right of way acquisition. Council has yet to act on that work plan, but there is NO money in the upcoming budget to pay for it.

The plan was for Horry County to provide up to $25 million per year from 1.5% Hospitality Fee revenues collected countywide as funding. Since March 2019, the county has been sued by the cities over hospitality fee collections and there is no guarantee at this time how much, if any, of the countywide 1.5% fee revenue will be available to the county in the next or ensuing fiscal years.

However, Section V of the agreement, “Payments by the County”, states,  “The County shall maintain an account balance which shall be sufficient to cover the Project expenses for the relevant fiscal year including annual payments to the consultants, contractors or SCDOT…”

In addition, Section III D of the agreement states, “Nor shall the County’s prior approval be required for any right-of-way acquisition agreement or consultant agreement for work of the Project provided the cost thereof does not exceed the estimates provided in the Annual Work Plan.”

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Indian Wells Rezoning on Tonight’s County Council Agenda – Updated

June 4, 2019 6:12 AM
Indian Wells Rezoning on Tonight’s County Council Agenda – Updated

(above picture Dan Liu, left, and Nick Dou)

UPDATE

Once again first reading of the rezoning ordinance was deferred. 

The same scenario played out as before – opponents of the rezoning showed up in force dressed in their now famous red shirts. Once again council member Tyler Servant blinked and asked for another deferral.

It appears there is no desire on Servant’s part to vote against the rezoning or else it would already been voted down. Council members will generally follow the will of the member in whose district the rezoning is located.

Evidently the tactic is to attempt to wait out the ‘red shirts’ until their opposition wanes. However, that may not be the end result here.

There is a determined opposition and the current owner, Founders Group International, apparently needs the property to be rezoned to clinch its sale. It is not believed that the property can be profitably developed with the residential zoning it has now.

First reading of an ordinance for a proposed rezoning of Indian Wells Golf Club is again on the Horry County Council agenda for tonight.

This is the fourth time the issue has been before council for first reading. It was initially defeated late last year. After some tinkering with the proposal, removing the commercial areas and adding more townhomes in an attempt to appease adjacent property owners, the issue has been deferred twice.

There is considerable opposition from owners in three sub-divisions, who thought they were buying golf course view property over the past 20 years only to discover this is not necessarily the case in Horry County.

All but a few of the golf courses in Horry County have underlying zoning that allows for development of the golf course into residences of some type.

Many of properties in the golf course communities surrounding those golf courses were sold on the basis of ‘fairway views’ or ‘proximity to the course’ of the homes, often with premiums charged for properties directly adjacent to the golf course.

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Proposed Rezoning of Indian Wells Golf Club Raises Many Issues

April 30, 2019 7:22 AM
Proposed Rezoning of Indian Wells Golf Club Raises Many Issues

(pictured above, Dan Liu, left, and Nick Dou)

Horry County Council will again consider first reading of a request to rezone Indian Wells Golf Club for development at its regular meeting next week.

Council has already denied the request once and deferred a changed plan at its last regular council meeting.

Council member Tyler Servant, in whose council District 5 the course is located, has reportedly been working with three homeowner’s associations who will be impacted by the rezoning to get agreement from them for a development plan that has no commercial structures and only townhomes and single family homes.

But, Servant may be missing the forest while concentrating on just one tree. There are more issues at Indian Wells than which development plan can get approval from council.

Indian Wells is one of the golf courses owned by the Founders Group International, a collective of multiple LLC’s with 90% ownership by Chinese companies for which Dan Liu claims to act as exclusive U.S. agent and 10% ownership by Nick Dou, according to documents provided in a lawsuit with Dou as plaintiff and Liu as defendant. According to Liu’s deposition, he met Dou in 2012.

Dou and Liu are currently locked in a legal battle over allegations by Dou that Liu is attempting to strip assets from their corporate interests.

In the 2014-15 timeframe, Founders Group International acquired 22 golf courses, homes and other properties in the Grand Strand area for the total sum of approximately $135 million.

In a deposition for the ongoing lawsuit, Liu claimed the money used for the purchases was taken from his personal funds. However, the deposition included a description from Liu of his work history from the time he left university in 1997. Nothing in that history gave any indication from where Liu would have accumulated such an amount of money.

According to Liu’s statements in the deposition, he placed his personal funds in the above mentioned Chinese companies, with which he claims no association other than being the exclusive U.S. agent, in order to move the funds out of China.

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Chinese Trial Raises Questions About Local Leadership

May 24, 2018 3:19 PM
Chinese Trial Raises Questions About Local Leadership

A criminal trial in China added a clarifying chapter to the saga of Chinese investments in the Grand Strand area and the naivete of local officials who touted them here.

By 2014, the golf tourism business was in serious decline. Owners of golf courses, many still paying off mortgages, were stuck with assets on their books far exceeding their actual market value. Many were quietly trying to sell the courses with little success.

Jane Zheng was a native Chinese working as a realtor with a local company. Her niche market was other Chinese nationals with seemingly excess cash to invest in U.S. properties. At the time, the Chinese economy was growing at such a rate that many Chinese businesses and individuals had considerable excess cash to invest.

Zheng connected with Dan Liu, reportedly a managing partner in Yiqian Funding, a peer to peer lending company in China that received money from Chinese investors that it lent to business or other entrepreneurs or invested it. Investors and the company supposedly made money on the interest paid on the loans or on the rise in investment assets.

Over an approximate 18 month period, Zheng brokered the sale of 22 local golf courses and other development properties to, supposedly, three Chinese corporations for whom Liu was the exclusive U.S. representative.

While not being licensed to do business in South Carolina, according to records of the S.C. Secretary of State Office, the three corporations supposedly formed at least 16 LLCs locally, each holding some of the various golf course and development property assets. One or more of three Chinese corporations owned 90 percent of each LLC with Liu, as the exclusive agent, acting for the corporations. The LLC’s primarily conducted business locally under the name Founders Group International.

Everything looked great. Local owners got rid of golf course properties that had become toxic to them. Liu was playing the big money man locally and his partner in Yiqian Funding, Xiuli Xue, was bringing potential investors to Horry County to see investment opportunities.

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New Insights Into Founders Group International Lawsuit

July 7, 2017 5:02 AM
New Insights Into Founders Group International Lawsuit

(Pictured above, Dan Liu (left) and Nick Dou)

Investigation into the lawsuit filed in the 15th Judicial Circuit by Nick Dou against Dan Liu and three Chinese corporations over properties held collectively by Founders Group International continues to bring new revelations to the surface.

According to a source familiar with the lawsuit, Dan Liu was served locally with the lawsuit in recent days.

Liu’s peer to peer lending company, which did business in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) under both its Mandarin name “Yiqian Funding” and its English name “Easy Richness”, raised the money that was used to buy golf courses and other property in Horry and Georgetown counties.

According to records in Horry County, Liu and Dou established approximately 16 limited liability corporations to hold the various properties purchased in Horry and Georgetown counties. Collectively, the llc’s are known locally as Founders Group International.

According to court documents, Dou holds 10 percent interest in Founders Group International and the associated llc’s. The three Chinese corporations, for which Liu acts as exclusive U.S. agent, hold the remaining 90 percent of the llc’s.

According to sources familiar with Yiqian Funding, the company raised a total of approximately 10 billion Yuan ($1.5 billion) from approximately 60,000 investors over a six year period. Estimates are that at least $300 million was taken out of the PRC for investment in the U.S.

Sources with knowledge of Yiqian said what was purchased was not really important to Liu. His main goal was getting the money beyond the borders of the PRC.

For that purpose, Liu established the three Chinese corporations, apparently nothing more than shell corporations, to receive the investor money from Yiqian Funding to use for purchases in the U.S.

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