The properties, however, were different from the ones on the original list. The new list included an apartment complex on Meigs Place NE that had been purchased by a company headed by developer David Tolson, a business partner of Fenty’s longtime campaign treasurer, Ben Soto. Soto said he is not involved the Peaceoholics deal.
Tolson had his own connection to Hagler. In a 2007 transaction unrelated to the Peaceoholics project, Tolson’s company had lent Hagler $355,000 to finance a Southeast property. The seller was a company run by Edward Wilson, the Anne Arundel businessman, according to property records and interviews.
In early 2009, Peaceoholics added another new property to the list, a vacant building on Congress Street SE. The property had been purchased months earlier by a limited-liability company. The owner: Wilson.
In March 2009, the housing agency approved the purchase of the two properties, along with a third one owned by a D.C police officer.
For Tolson’s property, Peaceoholics paid $2.35 million — more than quadruple what Tolson’s company had paid about a year earlier.
For Wilson’s property, Peaceoholics paid $400,000 — four times what Wilson’s company had paid about seven months earlier at a tax sale.
Both Tolson and Wilson, however, said they did not profit.
Wilson, 58, said his interest in the Congress Street property began in 2005 when he bought the note on the property and assumed the role of lender. He said he paid off hundreds of thousands of dollars in liens, back taxes and other fees associated with the property before he became the owner in 2008.
“We didn’t even break even,” he said.
Tolson said that he had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on a defaulted loan to the former owner of the property on Meigs Place, then paid thousands more for repairs to the property before Peaceoholics bought it.
Abraham said he found the Tolson property through one of Peaceoholics’ clients, a young man who had been working with Tolson. Abraham said he found the Wilson property after receiving a call from local mortgage banker Jose Strickland, 44.
“Everyone knew we had just gotten public money,” Abraham said. “People were just calling, wanting to meet.
. . .
Strickland said he had a building.”
Wilson and Strickland had done business together for years, records show, with Wilson’s company providing loans for a series of properties purchased by Strickland. Strickland did not return calls requesting comment. Soto, an attorney who has represented Strickland in the past, said he was unaware of Strickland’s involvement in the project.
Wilson said he paid Strickland a $38,000 “finder’s fee” after Peaceoholics bought his building. “The condo market had collapsed,” Wilson said. “We were glad to be rid of it.”