Santa Clara County's Former Chief Wants to Unload House Onto Taxpayers

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Retired county schools Superintendent Charles Weis wants to unload his luxury condo in downtown San Jose -- which has lost about a fifth of its value since its purchase in 2008 -- onto his former employers, potentially costing Santa Clara County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Santa Clara County Board of Education, in order to lure Weis here four years ago, offered him a loan of up to $1 million to settle in expensive Silicon Valley -- half the amount at zero interest, the remainder at 3 percent interest.

Weis never moved here permanently, instead keeping his home in Ventura County. But he borrowed $915,000 to purchase a brand-new, 18th-floor condo, which he remodeled, in the Axis building downtown. Now Weis, who has returned to Ventura, needs to repay the loan within 18 months of his June 30 retirement. But he said he couldn't sell or refinance the two-bedroom, two-bath condo at 38 North Almaden for anything near what he paid for it -- $890,000, according to property records.

He says the unit is worth in the $600,000s. A similar-sized unit in the building, where 90 of the nearly 350 units remain unsold, is on the market for $725,000. So now he wants the board to agree to take ownership of the property. "I just think this is an unfortunate circumstance of the value of a home not inflating," Weis said Tuesday from his Ventura County home. "If the County Office handles it right, they won't lose anything on it. They'll be able to lease it out" or sell it.

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