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Ex-postal official's role in deal is questioned

Ex-postal official's role in deal is questioned

August 9th, 2011 in News

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Postal Service inspector general investigated a former member of the Board of Governors in connection with a real estate deal and sent its report to the board chairman.

The case involved Alan C. Kessler, a Philadelphia lawyer who left the agency governing board earlier this year, and a Sarasota, Fla., property leased by the Postal Service for use as a post office and vehicle maintenance facility.

In a statement issued Monday, Kessler's attorney, Pamela J. Marple, said Kessler had not seen the report and that the matter had been concluded.

"During the review he demonstrated that he was committed to encouraging the Postal Service to respond to the public and third parties in a respectful and responsive manner consistent with its best interests," Marple said.

The post office wanted to exercise an option to purchase the facility for $825,000. The building was owned by an investment company that bought it for $575,000 in 1988, but it was valued at $12 million in 2008.

According to the inspector general's report, Kessler involved himself in the dispute at the request of Douglas Band, whose family are part owners of the investment company.

Band described Kessler as a friend for many years, but Kessler told investigators he knew Band only through a nonprofit organization to which Kessler had contributed.

Kessler told the newspaper Federal Times, which first reported the investigation: "Anyone who ever came to me, I tried to be responsive to and make sure that they had a fair and even opportunity to be heard."