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Public Deal for Rady

Ernest Rady, one of the county’s least public businessmen, is entering into a quite public deal to buy $1.9 million worth of City of San Diego-owned land in the “Golden Triangle” for a new headquarters for his Insurance Co. of the West.

Rady owns a slew of businesses, including ICW, American Assets and, with Leon Parma, Coast Distributing and an Oceanside radio station. Rady’s reputation in the business community is impeccable, but he shuns publicity and refuses interviews with reporters.

The purchase of the city-owned land--just north of Scripps Memorial Hospital-La Jolla--was made possible by issuance of $8 million in industrial development bonds, approved by the San Diego City Council last week.

It’s a nice deal for Rady; he’ll use $1.9 million of those city-approved funds to buy the land.

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Meanwhile, his ICW Park building in Mission Valley, across the river from San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, likely will be sold, according to a source familiar with the deal.

Gentlemen’s Agreement

Employee morale at Central Savings & Loan seems higher than ever after the regulator-mandated management shake-up on May 31.

New President George Leonard, who’s also executive vice president of First Federal Savings & Loan of Arizona, the company hired by regulators to manage Central, has said he may even boost the company’s 700-member work force. That would be quite a turnaround for a company that for the past year has been under federal orders not to make any new loans.

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But workers are quick to point out that morale during the past few years of red ink hasn’t been as poor as outsiders might think.

The reason: “Gentleman” Fred Stalder, according to some Central executives. “Stalder has such a good reputation among regulators as a gentleman that they left us alone more than they could have,” said one Central executive.

Stalder, Central’s chief executive since 1948, was on his way to retirement when the board fired then-President Daniel McSweeney. The ouster brought Stalder back into the daily grind.

Now he can return to his retirement.

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He said he plans to “do some of the things that I’ve never had the time to do before,” including “discretionary reading,” traveling, and spending more time with his 12 grandchildren, who are scattered throughout the country.

BSD Gets a Hand Slap

Will banking and savings and loan deregulation slow down because of financial institution failures and management abuses? There are some industry officials who believe (and sometimes hope) so.

Until then, regulators simply criticize certain practices.

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Last week, in the fine print of its proxy statement, BSD Bancorp, the holding company for Bank of San Diego and five other subsidiaries, revealed that banking authorities had criticized some of BSD’s loans to insiders.

A $155,000 loan to director Arlington Ray Robbins was criticized for its riskiness, a $250,000 stand-by letter of credit to director Tom Hom was below the bank’s standard charge, and an unsecured loan to a real estate limited partnership involving directors Ray Innocenti and Robert E. Townsend was criticized for its “favorable terms.”

In addition, the proxy revealed that BSD owns or leases 23 cars acquired from Townsend’s automobile dealership and is subleasing some Bank of San Diego headquarter space to a management firm headed by James S. Brown, BSD’s chairman. In both instances, BSD management claimed that the prices paid represent fair market value.

Management also disputed the criticisms of its insider loans.

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An Untimely Gaffe

New Jersey transplant Bob Fritsch, in town only about one month, was puzzled by a reporter’s phone call Monday asking if the name of his new firm in El Cajon was a joke.

Fritsch, who last month purchased a company that that sells solid oak-framed wall clocks, said he “never heard” of Rancho Bernardo-based Oak Industries, nor about its financial troubles, nor about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation into its business dealings.

Which may explain why Fritsch thought nothing about naming his new company Timely Oak Industries.

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