As central Oregon’s long real estate gold rush gives way to a grim new era of falling prices and foreclosures, few companies have crashed to earth harder than Bend-based Desert Sun Development.
The upstart operation, led by its intense 29-year-old founder, Tyler Fitzsimons, is under siege from lenders, suppliers and contractors who say they’ve been stiffed for millions of dollars.
But Desert Sun’s problems go well beyond clamoring creditors, The Oregonian found in its examination of the company. It offered a homeownership program to more than 30 people, mostly employees, that has left many participants deeply in debt for houses that aren’t complete or even started.
The employee program is one of several aspects of Desert Sun that have drawn the attention of FBI and IRS agents in recent months. According to people quizzed by the agents, investigators are focusing on Desert Sun’s financing and its relationship with a bevy of Oregon banks, which threw millions of dollars at the company.
The unfolding saga reflects how the financial industry operated in central Oregon and elsewhere during the real estate boom. Banks lined up to back newly minted companies. They made huge loans to workers of limited means who couldn’t afford the payments.
Read the rest of the story at OregonLive.
Bend developer’s problems leave losses, questions in wake