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Struggling Atlanta Real Estate Developer Gets Opportunity to Air Gripes Before Congress

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Back in the heyday of the boom, bank loans were quite easy to obtain, especially for real estate projects. Of course after the bubble popped, many of the projects built with these loans turned out to be spectacular failures, taking down more than a few real estate developers. These borrowers' inability to pay back their loans didn't end with their own demise, indeed, they contributed to the subsequent failure of many of the banks. And Georgia, as we all know, has been an epicenter of failed banks. All of that's relatively ancient history now, and we've moved onto the phase of the real estate boom-bust cycle where opportunistic investors get to pick at the carcasses of failed banks (in the possession of the FDIC), which are rife with real estate assets, including notes on loans. That the process of the government selling off these assets (or, in the case of this cycle, 'partnering' with acquirers) is at least somewhat political is a given, and predictably, some folks are upset at how it's proceeding. Especially real estate developers still on the hook for loans they took out on projects that failed.

One such person is high-profile Atlanta developer Scott Leventhal, he of the Tivoli real estate companies, various foreclosed-upon / cancelled real estate developments (among them the Mandarin Oriental Hotel & Residences once planned for Midtown, pictured) and the humble company website bio. Seems Leventhal, accompanied by one of his elected representatives, testified before Congress yesterday about (perceived) unfairness in the way pools of loans are being sold and subsequently worked out, singling out one of the multiple creditors he's dealing with (but not one of the ones currently suing him). This comes on the heels of his vocal support of a bill before the Georgia Senate to "protect" failed banks and their borrowers, but viewed by many as a way for big developers to shirk responsibility for debts they accrued in the run-up of the real estate bubble. That bill did not pass. It remains to be seen how Leventhal's powers of persuasion worked on Capitol Hill.

· Developer, Westmoreland cry foul at FDIC deals [AJC]