State Rep. Kevin Schreiber didn't do anything illegal — or unethical, according to legal advice he sought — when he sold his home to a company owned by the CEO of Think Loud Development, which was awarded a $5 million state grant in July.
But it doesn't look good.
It looks like the York City Democrat received a favor when Bill Hynes' Saddleback Properties LP offered to buy 326 W. Newton Ave. in May, just about a month after Schreiber listed it. Homes sold in York City so far this year were on the market for an average of 103 days.
Hynes also is the CEO of Think Loud Development, which received a $5 million state grant to finish construction at the former Bi-Comp Inc. building at 210 York St., where Think Loud has offices, a recording studio and several apartment suites.
After that, work will begin on a 40,000-square-foot data center — at an anticipated cost of $30 million — for United Fiber and Data, a fiber optic company with plans to build an information-transmission line between New York and northern Virginia.
In preparation, Think Loud has purchased about 80 percent of the homes on the northern side of Chestnut Street and plans to demolish them, Hynes said.
He said he also has several companies — including Saddleback Properties LP, 120 York LLC and Think Loud York LP — buying properties "all over the city" to be used as temporary employee housing and for visiting corporate executives.
Yet according to county records, only one property owned by those three companies sits outside the neighborhood around 210 York St. — Schreiber's former home.
Schreiber said there was never an expectation of favors in exchange for the purchase of his home.
But the question is there.
It's not just The York Dispatch asking; we became of aware of it when readers expressed concern about the transaction.
Apparently, Schreiber himself was aware of how it might look — enough so, he told the York Sunday News, he consulted a House of Representatives attorney and a local lawyer.
Well, if it crossed his mind, he shouldn't be surprised others are questioning the propriety of the deal.
Fair or not, Schreiber sold a bit of his constituents' trust along with his house.