Spotlight on One of the “People of Power and Means”?

great modesto shell game 700

September 11th, 2017

In our story “Takedown! People of Power and Means begin takeover of Modesto.” we mentioned a few names as it related to the Downtown Modesto Parnership (DoMo) or as we call it “New Modesto”.      We must credit David Boring with coining the term “People of Power and Means

great modesto shell game Naming the powerful who run the City and County depends on the subject, as there are many of them, and they are as interconnected as a spider web.  They run multiple corporations, many with nearly the same name, and interconnect in these corporations as business partners.   For example a wikicorporation search on Paul Draper (of the new courthouse saga), it shows him as:

  • President at Centerra Capital, Inc.
  • President at Del Puerto Enterprises, Inc.
  • President at Centerra Properties, Inc.
  • President at Rim Property Manager One Inc.
  • President at Bellabean, Inc.
  • Member at 1600 Amd, LLC
  • Member at Centerra Partners II LLC
  • Member at Centerra Real Estate Fund II LLC


Notice the very subtle similar names, make one company an LLC, make one a Corporation, etc.    It is all a shell game that we the taxpayer will always end up playing but never win.

Rich and powerful figures learn early in the game that the rules really do not apply to them. They have their own separate toolbox that ordinary people do not possess. They wear the most expensive clothes and drive the most expensive cars. They have their own “yes” men. And of course, they have the most powerful tool of all, money.

Their behavior is different from the ordinary person, as well. When they speak folks stop and listen, when they want something, handlers are there to get it and when they break the rules an army of folks cover the tracks or take the fall. They are, undoubtedly, under the belief that if they get caught doing something they shouldn’t, their power will surely bail them out.

It is often said that narcissism begets power but the reverse is true as well. The mantra of the powerful? “I want, what I want, when I want it and I will do whatever it takes to get it”.

Emerson Drake put it well on Brent Sinclair’s support of Sinclair as the negotiator for the new courthouse   “To hear Brent Sinclair make the case for Paul Draper to be chosen was ludicrous.  His main argument was since Draper was involved with his self-named ‘Team Modesto’ and had spent hundreds of hours attempting to build his multi-use towers he deserved the council’s largess.  While I commend Draper for his attempt I don’t feel the need to grant him the ‘excess profits’ by allowing him to represent Modesto’s five properties in the sale to the state. From our point of view Draper was ‘given’ a bonus by allowing this to occur. Draper will receive $30,000 for every million dollars the city receives for its five properties.  And yes, it comes from Modesto’s pocket”

Remember, on SEPTEMBER 02, 2013 the Modesto Bee reported “ Tonight’s City Council agenda contains a consent item to use Centerra Capital to help the city in negotiations with the landowners. Only it appears to be an after-the-fact rubber stamp, since the staff explanation states that Centerra is already assisting the city. Typically consent items get no council or public discussion unless someone asks for them to be discussed.  Later in the same agenda there’s a closed-door session indicating negotiations are under way and that Centerra Capital owner Paul Draper is representing the landowners, with Community Development Director representing the city. It’s at best confusing, but then there has been no public forum for citizens and taxpayers to learn and ask questions about how this will all come together.”

Then three days on SEPTEMBER 05, 2013 the Modesto Bee reported “ Our View: Modesto has bad track record with ‘affordable housing’  – Back in 2008 and 2009, The Modesto Bee supported the development of the 150-unit Archway Commons project, a complex of one-, two- and three-bedroom units on North Ninth Street and Carver Road.

Because the negotiations took place behind closed doors, there is no evidence that city staff or council members looked for a way to get out of or modify the deal to reflect current values.  In fact, the city’s payments to Paul Draper’s 4701 Stoddard LLC and his partner Sylvia Cox were inflated by almost half a million dollars in contract extension and settlement fees. The high price paid to the partnership, $14.07 per square foot, stands in stark contrast to the $6 per square foot that the city paid a small church for an adjoining parcel.

The Mayor and City Council were well aware of the history Paul Draper and his Centerra company have with Modesto’s Archway Commons project.  The outrageous profit unnecessarily paid to Centerra was just another example of behind the scene politics that seem to occur on a regular basis in Modesto.”

Finally, to add to this saga on OCTOBER 05, 2013, the Modesto Bee reported “The only time any aspect of the new courthouse has appeared on a public agenda was last month, when the City Council voted to pay Modesto developer Paul Draper’s Centerra Capital a commission for  consulting on the sale of the 10th Street property to the state. Draper withdrew from that contract after questions were raised about whether he could legally broker the land deal without having a real estate license.”

Having nothing to fear from our District Attorney, the show goes on for the people of power and means.