I am wrapping up my discussion of the Destiny USA project this week with one final post. You can select the Destiny USA tag to review all of the previously published posts on this topic. I will also be publishing a compendium of posts on the topic — plus bonus coverage — later this week. Thank you for reading.
I am wrapping up the Destiny USA Debacle discussion with a truly bizarre story.
When I first read Rick Moriarty’s story on the Destiny USA project, I was shocked to learn that the U.S. Green Building Council invested in the Green Bonds issued for the project. Additional research turned up a USGBC press release from 2007 touting the purchase of the Green Bonds.
Why did the USGBC’s involvement shock me?
In order to qualify for $238 million in tax-exempt Green Bonds, the developer had to provide written assurances to the federal government, including written statements from the USGBC, that the project would achieve LEED certification. Investors in the Green Bonds received tax-exempt returns based in part on the promises made by the Destiny USA developer to achieve LEED certification.
By investing in Green Bonds, the USGBC would have been investing in bonds that received tax-free status that was dependent on the USGBC’s decisions and written assurances related to LEED certification. That could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
I contacted the USGBC to confirm the purchase of the Green Bonds.
Here’s where the story becomes bizarre. According to the Judith Webb, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communication, the USGBC did not purchase the Green Bonds:
“Unfortunately Rick Moriarity was mistaken — USGBC actually didn’t purchase the bond. (In hindsight, when we didn’t make the purchase we should have taken the press release down, but that was before my time).”
What are your final thoughts on the Destiny USA Debacle?