Why this website? What about John Infantino? What about Federal Development?

This website was created to assist others in their research about John Infantino and Federal Development – his real estate development company.  If I’d had information like this readily available to me, I might not have gotten involved with Federal Development and could have saved myself considerable time, money and frustration.

Since I created the site in 2010, I have had many other people email me about their experiences with Mr. Infantino and the more I learn, the more I think I probably got off lucky. John Infantino is nothing if not a con artist.

At the height of Federal Development’s success – around 2005-2007 – Mr. Infantino had several offices established around the globe, mostly staffed by inexperienced unpaid student interns. Very few of his employees were paid employees. In 2007, before the real estate crash, Mr. Infantino was able to secure contracts for real estate developments by simply having his interns write up a response to a request for development proposal which they basically copied word for word from other legitimate development companies. Back then, the banks were handing out money much more readily, and Mr. Infantino looked the part, and had a somewhat impressive resume. Unfortunately, he was the only one in the company. And one man can only do so much. After securing multiple development contracts, Mr. Infantino could not keep up with the management of so many projects, and financial partners pulled back.

Federal Development still maintains a website where it lists many current and past projects – however, the majority of the projects on the site were never actually built. They were just concepts. And yet, their website and the rest of their marketing materials are still used to submit development proposals to unsuspecting land owners. And with a list of professional references from some of the biggest banks around, I am sad to say that the unsuspecting land owner / public partner – rarely, if ever, does it’s research on Federal Development. And soon finds itself in an exclusive negotiating contract with a con man who is best at buying himself more time.

I still scratch my head over how he is able to sleep at night.

The worst project example that I’m aware of is The Fort Howard project. Fort Howard was a project that Mr. Infantino was awarded by the Veteran’s Administration. The VA contracted with FEDERAL to build a veteran’s housing development. Years into the contract, the veterans started to wonder if it would ever be built. And they pressured the VA… and the VA in turn pressured Federal. And Federal sent out a fancy marketing package, with floor plans and pictures and an application and $750 application fee / deposit. And the applications and deposits started coming in.  And then, shortly after, the housing bubble burst. And Federal’s financial partners started to walk away. And Federal had no money to keep it’s offices open. And Federal basically stopped answering emails and phone calls. And the deposit money from the veterans disappeared. Read about Fort Howard here.

And I read articles online about the veterans and I got angry. And I saw other articles pop up about projects that Federal was losing – for the same reasons… nothing was happening. The developer abandoned the land owner.

I just did another google search on Federal Development and John Infantino and it looks like he’s back at it. This time the company is called Derek Owens Group of Companies – and the website is:

http://derekowensgroup.com/

but it looks like all of Federal’s marketing stuff. And check out the about page, John Infantino is the CEO.

Surprise Surprise.

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Who is John Infantino?

John Infantino is the founder of Federal Development.

A quick search on Google will return many interesting results, including the following blurb from http://www.balrec.eu:

John Infantino – CEO, Federal Development
John Infantino is the Chief Executive Officer of Federal Development LLC worldwide. Mr. Infantino has extensive experience in mixed-use development efforts and the enhanced development of government properties throughout the United States. Mr. Infantino began his career in Real Estate Development with the Construction Lending Group of Chemical Bank’s Real Estate Division where he spearheaded a series of successful high-yield marketing and business development programs.
.He was also the Vice Chairman of First Public Trust, a family owned and controlled real estate management firm which incorporates a 60-year history of developing over twenty master-planned communities on the East Coast and the Midwest. Mr. Infantino served as a development consultant for LCOR Inc. following his service as Vice President of that firm. During his tenure his clients included government agencies, public authorities and universities, as well as private landowners and institutional investors.
Mr. Infantino is a frequent speaker at conference and government workshops on the effective implementation of Public/Private Partnerships.

Impressive resume…? Or outright lies?! You be the judge.

Federal’s website has gone virtually unchanged since 2007. Except for one minor detail… they seem to have changed their website name and url from FEDERAL DEVELOPMENT to FEDERAL ASSET MANAGEMENT.

The Federal website always boasted many “projects” and at quick glance, makes Federal appear to be a legitimate firm with a lot in the cooker. But between you and me, these same projects were previously listed on FEDERAL’s website when they were calling themselves FEDERAL DEVELOPMENT. And these “projects” were being touted as “development projects”… kind of makes you go hmmmm….. doesn’t it?

Ok, so FEDERAL is now calling themselves an “asset management / property management firm” – and that would be okay, if only the projects EVEN EXISTED?!!!

Federal Development Projects

Clicking on one of the little project thumbnails brings up a breakdown of project info on the right side of the page, notice on the image above for The Resort at Del Rey Oaks – it says Federal was the “Asset Manager” – when in reality, this project never really existed – including the fancy building in the photo. The City of Del Rey Oaks attempted to sue Federal in superior court, something that is still ongoing, and nothing was ever built. The farthest Federal ever got on the Del Rey Oaks’ project was getting an exclusive agreement from the City. But by looking at Federal’s website, with it’s fancy architectural rendering of a beautiful resort, it appears that Federal was managing a valuable hospitality asset for the City of Del Rey Oaks. When in reality, the actual land that FEDERAL “managed” currently looks like this:

del-rey-oaks-mayor

In fact, the project case studies on Federal’s website, don’t say whether any of the projects are projects that Federal bid on, or projects that were awarded. And if awarded – what phase of the project they are in (concept/design, in progress, or completed). It is very misleading. In fact, it appears that several of the projects listed are just projects that Federal submitted a bid on, or responded to an RFP (Request for Proposal). Yet, Federal went ahead and took the liberty of posting them on their company website. Seriously, WHAT COMPANY DOES THAT? That would be like writing a resume and listing every company you’ve ever interviewed with – regardless of whether or not you were hired.

The following “projects” are listed in a 3-column grid on Federal Development’s site. I’ve typed it up here to make it a little more clear…

Column #1

  1. AT&T Wireless, Merced, California
  2. Bayside at Fort Howard, Maryland
  3. Beaumont Villages, Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas
  4. Boeing, Merced, California
  5. Grande Ocean Resorts, Caribbean
  6. Castle Commerce Center, Atwater, California
  7. Columbia Residential Center, Arlington, Virginia
  8. City of Medicine Center, Durham, North Carolina
  9. United States Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home, Washington D.C.

Column #2

  1. The Resort at Del Rey Oaks, Del Rey Oaks, California
  2. Shanghai and Huangshan, China
  3. Incheon International Airport, Incheon, Korea
  4. Ingleside, Corpus Christi, Texas
  5. Jeju Island, South Korea
  6. Miramar Creek, Snake Creek, Miramar, Florida
  7. India International Airport, India
  8. Camp Navajo, Bellemont, Arizona
  9. New Carrollton, Prince George’s County, Maryland
  10. Inland Northwest Science and Technology Center, Spokane, Washington

Column #3

  1. Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  2. Rock Island, Moline, Illinois
  3. Rogers Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland
  4. Sierra Academy of Aeronautics, Merced, California
  5. Stanley Hall, Washington D.C.
  6. Saint Paul’s College, Lawrenceville, Virginia
  7. University of California Merced, Merced, California
  8. Nicelli Spa, Venice, Lido, Italy
  9. Zhenjiang, China

 

Now, let’s take a look at that list again, and I’ll update you on what I know about each project. This, by the way, is where it gets pretty interesting:

Column #1

  1. AT&T Wireless, Merced, California  (Role: Property Manager)   PROJECT LOST
    This project (part of the Castle Commerce Center) was taken back from the public partner – The County of Merced

  2. Bayside at Fort Howard, Maryland  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)  PROJECT LOST / NOTHING EVER BUILT OR MANAGED
    Federal lost this project – it was taken back from the Veteran’s Administration. Hundreds of Veterans (senior citizens) were totally screwed over by John Infantino and his promises. John collected deposits up to $1500 per person from seniors wanting to live in a new Veteran’s housing facility on Fort Howard, only to pocket the money and walk away.
  3. Beaumont Villages, Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)  PROJECT LOST / NOTHING EVER BUILT OR MANAGED
  4. Boeing, Merced, California  (Role: Asset Manager)   PROJECT LOST
    This project (part of the Castle Commerce Center) was taken back from the public partner – The County of Merced
  5. Grande Ocean Resorts, Caribbean*  NO ROLE LISTED  NOT A REAL PROJECT / CONCEPT STAGE ONLY

  6. Castle Commerce Center, Atwater, California  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)  PROJECT LOST / NOTHING EVER BUILT
    This project (part of the Castle Commerce Center) was taken back from the public partner – The County of Merced
  7. Columbia Residential Center, Arlington, Virginia  (Role: Asset Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  8. City of Medicine Center, Durham, North Carolina  (Role: Development Manager /Asset & Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  9. United States Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home, Washington D.C.  (Role: Asset Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching

Column #2

  1. The Resort at Del Rey Oaks, Del Rey Oaks, California  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)  PROJECT LOST / NEVER STARTED / CONCEPT STAGE ONLY
    Federal is currently being sued by this City
  2. Shanghai and Huangshan, China  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  3. Incheon International Airport, Incheon, Korea  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  4. Ingleside, Corpus Christi, Texas  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  5. Jeju Island, South Korea  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  6. Miramar Creek, Snake Creek, Miramar, Florida  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  7. India International Airport, India  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  8. Camp Navajo, Bellemont, Arizona  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)  PROJECT LOST / NOTHING EVER BUILT OR MANAGED
  9. New Carrollton, Prince George’s County, Maryland  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  10. Inland Northwest Science and Technology Center, Spokane, Washington  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching

Column #3

  1. Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  2. Rock Island, Moline, Illinois  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  3. Rogers Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  4. Sierra Academy of Aeronautics, Merced, California  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)  PROJECT LOST
    This project (part of the Castle Commerce Center) was taken back from the public partner – The County of Merced
  5. Stanley Hall, Washington D.C.  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  6. Saint Paul’s College, Lawrenceville, Virginia  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  7. University of California Merced, Merced, California  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)  PROJECT LOST
    This project (part of the Castle Commerce Center) was taken back from the public partner – The County of Merced
  8. Nicelli Spa, Venice, Lido, Italy  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching
  9. Zhenjiang, China  (Role: Asset/Property Manager)
    *Status Unknown, currently researching

Do you see the pattern? They’ve lost a significant number of projects, and as a justification for listing so many projects on their website, they changed their website name and URL to Federal Asset Management and demoted themselves to Asset Managers and Property Managers on almost all of the projects.

I will update this list as I find out more. Please feel free to comment below if you have any information on any of the above projects.

Federal’s new website

Beware! FEDERAL has a new website/venture…

In typical FEDERAL fashion – it’s very generic and designed to look like they are a legitimate company with contacts spanning the globe. However, I’d guess that most of the names on the site are people that worked for FEDERAL in the past, and probably have nothing to do with the company anymore.

Arsenal golf course opens to the public

the quad-city times

Arsenal golf course opens to the public

Ed Tibbetts and Craig DeVrieze | Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:31 am

The Rock Island Arsenal said Tuesday the long-private golf course on the island will be fully opened to the public and put under U.S. Army management.

The 112-year-old course, the oldest in the Quad-Cities, will open to the public Thursday, when it also will offer more information about fees, memberships and other programs, said Brian Swiss, deputy manager of the Arsenal garrison.

The announcement is the latest chapter in the golf club’s long history.

In recent years, the private club has seen membership dwindle, and about two years ago, a Washington, D.C.-based real estate and development firm took over the course’s management.

The firm, however, hasn’t been paying its bills, Swiss said.

“We’re taking over because they don’t have the financial means to run the course any longer,” he said.

He did not have a figure on how much is owed.

“It’s significant,” he said.

Federal Development LLC couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

The firm also has been in negotiations for months with the Army over the use of the historic Quarters One facility.

In March, a Federal Development official said it was hoping for a 50-year lease with the government that would entail rehabilitation of Quarters One, management of the golf course and the construction of new housing on the island.

Swiss said he thought negotiations on Quarters One were continuing, but he referred questions about that matter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore. The Corps is the entity that has been in talks with Federal Development.

Clem Gaines, a spokesman for the Corps, did not directly respond to a question about whether negotiations are still proceeding.

“As of right now, no final decision has been made regarding Quarters 1,” he said in an e-mail.

As for the golf club, the Army said Tuesday its goal is to retain all of its members, military or private.

The club members were expected to learn more about the Army’s plans for the golf course at a meeting Tuesday night, said first-year member and club champion Brad Muller, Moline.

He said he is uncertain if he will return as a member next year.

“It’s kind of up in the air for me right now,’’ he said. “It is a shame it is going to a public course.’’

The current membership is around 325, head professional Todd Fowler said, but a large percentage of those are junior, associate and social memberships brought in at reduced fees by the Federal Development group, he said.

Full golf members, who paid a $5,000 annual membership, total only 57, Fowler said.

At its height, Fowler said, total Arsenal membership exceeded 500, he said, with full golf memberships exceeding 250.

Nine-year member and former board of directors member Randy Burke said he might return as a member next year, but stressed, “If things don’t change, I’m gone at the end of the year.’’

Because of cuts in staff and budget, he said, the golf course had fallen into disrepair under Federal Development.

“I’m not happy with how Federal Development took shortcuts left and right when they assured us things would stay the same,’’ he said.

Fowler said the club’s staff was reduced by 40 percent when Federal Development took control and only a few remaining employees had been told they will be retained by the new management as of Tuesday afternoon.

He said staff members are being offered 30-day employment, most at reduced pay. Fowler said he had not yet been notified that he will remain in charge of the pro shop and said if he is not contacted by the close of business today, he will assume he is out of a job.

Fowler said the conversion to a public course could be considered good news, if only because it means the course will remain open.

“I think it is good from the standpoint it is going to stay a golf course,’’ he said. “It’s going to stay a golf club.’’

He said the general public responded well to an April offer that allowed public tee times at the course that had been private since it was opened in 1887. Rates that month were $30 to walk and $40 to ride.

Although the Arsenal course isn’t as long or difficult as private clubs such as Davenport Country Club in Pleasant Valley and Crow Valley Golf Club in Davenport or the daily-fee TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Fowler said, “I think if it is in good condition, it’s the best course in town for most people.’’

Burke said he remained an Arsenal member while many longtime members left over the past two years for convenience and aesthetics.

“It’s an incredibly gorgeous golf course, right on the river, and it is easy to get to,’’ he said.

The Army hopes by making the 18-hole course public, it will bring the military base closer to the Quad-City community.

Swiss said that proceeds from the golf course will go to its Morale, Welfare and Recreation organization, which is charged with helping soldiers and their families.

The Arsenal also sent a letter Tuesday to area mayors seeking their support.

Swiss called it a formality, when the Army offers such a service.

East Moline Mayor John Thodos said he is supportive.

“We’re more than interested in helping out,” he said.

Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba said he would consult with the city council and the administration about potential competition with the city’s courses but “at first, it sounds like a positive effort.”

Link to original article: http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_9990117c-b50c-11df-8c5e-001cc4c002e0.html

Federal being sued by City of Del Rey Oaks

Originally posted on the Monterey Herald website: http://www.montereyherald.com/crime/ci_15971162

Del Rey Oaks sues developer for defunct resort project

Del Rey Oaks seeks $1.1M for damages

By LARRY PARSONS
Herald Staff Writer

Posted: 09/02/2010 05:42:09 AM PDT

Updated: 09/02/2010 09:11:16 AM PDThe city of Del Rey Oaks says a developer who promised to bring a golf course resort with hotels, hundreds of homes, a conference center and spa to 360 acres of Fort Ord land owes the city $1.1million.The city filed suit for damages in mid-August against two entities associated with Federal Development LLC, a Washington, D.C., real estate developer that began working with Del Rey Oaks in 2003 on the proposed resort project.

The suit alleges Federal/JER Associates and Federal Del Rey Associates, two Delaware-chartered limited liability companies, have refused to pay the city about $425,000 in reimbursement costs and $723,000 for insurance on the Fort Ord land.

City Attorney Robert Wellington said Wednesday the city parted ways last fall with Federated Development after long and unsuccessful negotiations on a development agreement.

“This project is dead,” Wellington said. He said the developer is “substantially in arrears” to the city.

No response has been filed to the suit, and the city is trying to serve the complaint, he said.

Telephone numbers to Federated’s Monterey and Washington, D.C., offices were disconnected, and there was no response to an e-mail inquiry.

Wellington said the city received informal interest from two or three other developers about the Fort Ord acreage, but the City Council hasn’t made a decision about how to handle other proposals.

Mayor Jerry Edelen said he would like to see a low-density development that would provide Del Rey Oaks with enough revenue to avoid having to periodically ask residents to approve public-safety taxes.

Edelen said the council hasn’t decided whether to request formal project proposals or less time-consuming letters of intent from would-be developers.

The project, billed as The Resort at Del Rey Oaks, called for an extensive, upper-scale project on city land just east of Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard. Plans called for two hotels, an 18-hole golf course, golf and tennis training centers and a mix of housing totaling almost 700units.

The city’s suit says the last agreement with the developer expired in October 2009 and “no development has occurred at the site.”

The suit alleges that the developer owes the city for costs associated with the negotiations, preparation of agreements, overhead charges and consulting fees. The developer also owes the city, the suit says, for environmental liability insurance premiums paid to the Fort Ord Reuse Authority.

The insurance covers environmental problems that crop up on lands transferred from the Army to local agencies.

Edelen said the city worked a long time with Federated to get the project going.

“Every step of the way, we bent over backward,” he said. “But when the money is not forthcoming, sometimes you have to sever the ties.”

Federated principal John Infantino appeared before the City Council in June 2009, vowing that “despite all odds … Federated and Del Rey Oaks will succeed,” according to council minutes.

Larry Parsons can be reached at 646-4379 or lparsons@montereyherald. com.

Veterans Affairs ‘dusting off’ Fort Howard options

Link to original article on the Dundalk Eagle

Wednesday, 07 April 2010 12:21
Senior living is still primary expected use

by Randy Leonard

After removing the last developer from the project, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been slow to open up the Fort Howard VA Medical Center property to another company.

An invitation for project proposals originally expected last month is now several months off, according to Alan Hackman, a one-time project manager of the site who is with the Veterans Affairs Office of Asset Enterprise Management.
“We really haven’t done anything with it,” Hackman said of the project.
Under the previous tenant, Federal Development LLC of Washington, D.C., “the property was just kind of let go” of, Hackman said Tuesday.
The VA has been in the process of boarding up buildings and cutting back plant growth, he said.
Hackman still expects that the property will be offered for a senior housing project.
Federal Development, headed by John Infantino, lost its enhanced-use lease agreement in August after the VA determined that little had been done on the project over the four years that the company was involved with the property.
The company had disputed a determination from the VA that the project would be subject to tax and needed to comply with Baltimore County regulations, limiting the project to about 560 units.
The shape and size of any future development has not been determined, and a request for proposals is two or three months off, Hackman said.
A historical marker on the property indicates the area near where British forces landed in an attempt to ransack Baltimore in 1814, and the site has been mentioned in connection with plans for celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
No one has contacted Hackman about any potential use of the property in conjunction with bicentennial events, he said. He acknowledged the site is a point of interest and said  that plans for a trail or other potential use could be coordinated with a future developer.
Troy Hagger took over as project manager for the site, Hackman said.
Hagger did not immediately return a phone call for further comment.

Professional consulting firm Stainback Real Estate Consultants reviews Federal Development

In February 2005, leading public/private finance and development advisor – Stainback Real Estate – reviewed an RFP from Federal Development for a project in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Town of Chapel Hill had hired Stainback to provide their unbiased review of six development RFP responses. Stainback’s independent review rated Federal Development  at the lowest of the responses and potentially saved this town from the headaches and frustration of doing business with Federal Development.

Here are some of Stainback’s findings.

Or click here to download the PDF and read it for yourself. — Chapel Hill – Evaluation RFQ sheets

Comment 1: “All Federal projects are in the predevelopment stage, none appear constructed.”

Comment 2: “FD does not list the status of any current projects.”

Comment 3: “FD does not list the current workload of John Infantino. (See above 13 projects)”

Comment 4: “Extensive list of current Public Clients. No status given on FD current projects and scope. Question capacity to handle additional workload.”

Comment 5: “Federal’s response reads: The FEDERAL Team will work collaboratively with the Town of Chapel Hill to identify the financing solutions that will benefit all stakeholders in the Chapel Hill Development project.” A very broad description offered, almost non-responsive.”

Stainback’s other comments about Federal’s response:

General Tone of the Proposal: “Moderate-weak”

Caliber of Presentation: “Disjointed, difficult to understand team and responsibilities of team members.”

Level of Detail Provided: “Weak”

Perceived Enthusiasm: “Moderate”

Areas of Concern: “Access to Equity and Debt Relationships are not adequately explained. What is the relationship between Rockefeller Group and Federal? Rockefeller seems misplaced in this package. No reference provided for Rockefeller Group contact. Very general approach to Public/Private Finance Plan. Limited downtown infill development experience. No professional references for any projects listed in project examples.”

Summary of Qualifications: “Federal has assembled a team of varying expertise and development experience. Public/Private development projects are provided with no description of the financing arrangement, the public partner’s role, or the project status. Project examples provided were wide ranging, spanning from a converted 12,000 sf educational facility to master planned communities, to parking structures, little of which is applicable to Chapel Hill.”

As you can see, using a development consulting firm to review RFP’s saved the city of Chapel Hill the frustration of working with Federal Development and John Infantino. Kudo’s to them for having the foresight to have a REAL development company review developer proposals. I encourage all other public entities to do the SAME!