Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz has taken possession of a 4,400 square-foot Arizona home from the sibling of a Shindico Realty executive, documents show.
In August, the mayor took possession of a home in the edge of the Phoenix suburb of Windgate Ranch in Scottsdale from Teri Nordstrom, according to Maricopa County records posted online. Records show the property was transferred from Nordstrom to Katz on Aug. 23. Nordstrom is a sibling of Shindico chief financial officer Diane Shindleman, according to Free Press records.
Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, Katz declined to answer questions regarding how long he has lived at the Windgate property or elaborate upon his relationship with Nordstrom.
"I purchased a home in Arizona. I paid fair market value. As has been mentioned on many occasions in the past, I’ve obviously owned other homes there," said Katz, adding he has also bought 10 or 12 homes in Winnipeg over the years.
"And that’s basically the gist of it. There’s nothing really more to say. It’s unfortunate the innuendoes or conclusions that may or may not be drawn, but those are the facts and that’s what I’m going to leave you with."
The purchased price of the home in the Windgate development was not disclosed in Maricopa County records, but Katz told the CBC earlier this week he paid more than $1 million for it. County records do show the home was worth $1.58 million in 2008, before the U.S. economic slowdown devastated the Arizona real-estate market.
An official with the Maricopa County Treasurer's office confirmed Nordstrom paid close to $1.6 million cash for the property following a foreclosure in 2008. The Arizona Republic newspaper featured the transaction in a story regarding the areas' priciest home sales in October 2008.
The property's deed does not disclose how much the home was sold for due to an exemption. County documents show the particular exemption code represents "payment in full or forfeiture of a recorded contract."
Maricopa County property documents show the 4,470-square foot home has a three-car garage, a pool, and was built in 2008. Documents show a 2012 property tax bill for $7,110.24 US was mailed to Nordstrom at Katz's Winnipeg address.
A Maricopa County tax bill from the previous year shows a 2011 statement for $6,970.50 was also sent to Nordstrom at Katz's Winnipeg address.
Katz has stated he has no relationship with Shindico Realty beyond an investment made by Shindico executives Robert and Sandy Shindleman in the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball club and Shaw Park. There are no city rules compelling the mayor to disclose ownership of Arizona properties.
Property records show George Bell lives next door to Katz's Windgate Ranch property. Arizona Corporation Commission reveal Bell is listed as a business partner in at least three companies with Winnipeg's chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl.
Records show Sheegl owns a condo in a Scottsdale subdivision northwest of Windgate Ranch. Sheegl purchased the property in 2005 for $465,000, according to online property records.
In 2010, Katz sold another Scottsdale home for $525,000 after his mortgage holder tried to foreclose on it. Katz purchased that home for $837,500 in 2004, according to Maricopa County assessment records.The original loan on the property was $749,000, the records show.
The 3,800-square-foot home in the gated community of Stonegate has three bathrooms, three gas fireplaces, a pool, a jetted tub and a three-car garage, according to a real-estate listing, But it lost 34 per cent of its value since 2004 and was put on the market for US$550,000, according to county assessment records and online listings.
That means Winnipeg's mayor found himself in the same boat as the vast majority of Phoenix-area homeowners: saddled with a steep decline in property values as well as a mortgage.
There is no mortgage on Katz's new Scottsdale property. Katz said he was able to afford paying $1 million in cash for the Windgate home because he has been very successful at a variety of businesses over the years.
The mayor has repeatedly refused to disclose how often he travels to Phoenix or how much time he spends in Scottsdale, insisting it is a personal matter.
In March, Katz purchased a Scottsdale-based shell company called Duddy Enterprises from Sheegl. Both officials later said that move was a mistake, because they say said it could allow people to draw negative perceptions about the city.