Tacheles Sale: A cut and dry case for the courts of law

February 16th, 2011  |  Published in News

Just in time for the 21st Tacheles anniversary the purchase contract for the property from 1998 has finally been made public by the Tacheles Group, an association of Tacheles artists and craftsmen. Now it is manifest, that the German government has the legal possibility to revert the agreement with the buyer, the Fundus GmbH, since the real estate company has infringed the contract by not realizing the construction works planned on the Tacheles area. Due to a substantial penalty for Fundus and an increased market value of the the 23600sqm property in Berlin´s center this would mean a profit of at least € 25 million. It would also help to make the Tacheles art space (around 1250sqm), which is acutely threatened by foreclosure and eviction, permanent. At the same time, there is increasing evidence of economic crime involved.

In a research paper for the Tacheles Group the law firm SKW Schwarz points out that the deadline for the realization of the construction project was December 31st, 2005. Since nothing was ever built, the rescission of the contract by the former owner, the Federal Republic of Germany, can and should be the legal conclusion. The property would then be returned to the federal government.

Previous findings by the law firm had already suggested that the priority investment notice (Investitionsvorrangsbescheid (IVB)) issued by the federal government in 1995, which created the legal basis for the sale of the property, is illegal and has to be declared invalid by the authorities. Now, the federal government has a second compelling option to unwind the contract and to preserve the public art space in Berlin’s center.

For the German government and taxpayers the rescission would not only mean a cultural gain but would also be economically profitable. Though the former purchase price (€ 30.9 million) would have to be refunded to the buyer, he would have to pay a substantial penalty of € 18.4 million. Additionally, the properties´ value has increased: At least € 35 million according to the (conservative) valuation of the governmental land value report from 2010 (not including the value of already existing buildings – around € 8 million).

At the same time, there is more and more evidence of economic crime involved in the former sale. Fundus GmbH had acquired the site in 1998 for dream conditions. The investor did not have to put any of his own money into the project and was generously sponsored by government owned banks: € 75.25 million mortgage fund have been taken on the property. No one knows where the money is now. Subtracting money used by Fundus for buying the property and money used for the rehabilitation of the Tacheles building (about € 6.4 million), there still remain € 37.95 million.

There are strong suspicions, that this money has been transferred between different companies of the Fundus real estate empire – to be able to keep the money while losing legal liability. These are the documented facts: 1. After The Fundus GmbH acquired the property in 1998, it was transferred to the sub-company Johannishof Projektentwicklung GmbH, which apparently is insolvent now. That´s why the property is now managed by the creditors, that want to evict the Tacheles. 2. Besides the main creditor, the HSH Nordbank, there is another company, the Bredero GmbH, that has indexed a claim of € 30 million in the register of real estate. This company is part of the Fundus empire, ironically turning the Fundus company into a creditor of itself.

This model has already been applied in other Fundus construction projects: Bredero raises claims on ailing companies in the Fundus group, secures remaining cash and continues to decide about the future of the project as a member of the consortium of creditors. The winner therefore always is Anno August Jagdfeld, the boss of the Fundus group and close friend of former chancellor Helmut Kohl. The loser is the taxpayer and the public. A cut and dry case for the courts of law.

To preserve a renowned free art platform in the center of Berlin and re-invent this unique space, the Tacheles group finally wants to shed light onto the German shadow economy and either rent or buy the Tacheles. Taking the pending evacuation of Tacheles 2011 into consideration, the pre-condition must be fast and reasonable political action by the federal government.

THE SALE OF TACHELES IN 1998 MUST BE UNDONE

All documents for download: http://www.kunsthaus-tacheles.de/tacheles_skandal.zip

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