Maguire rebuffs founder’s bid to take over major properties

Maguire Properties Inc., the largest office landlord in downtown Los Angeles, on Tuesday rebuffed an offer from departed founder Robert F. Maguire to take over three of the company’s best properties.

Maguire is the real estate investment trust’s largest shareholder, but he left the company in May 2008 and is no longer a member of the board of directors.

In stern letters dated last week and Monday, Maguire criticized the current management of the company and implored his successor, Chief Executive Nelson Rising, to discuss Maguire’s proposal with the board.

Maguire said that to avoid looming loan payments and potential tax obligations, the company should hand him control of KPMG Tower in downtown Los Angeles and sell him the 72-story U.S. Bank Tower downtown and the Plaza Las Fuentes office complex in Pasadena.

Rising said that Maguire’s offer was discussed by the board Tuesday but no action was taken. “We had a very full agenda,” Rising said.

Maguire wasn’t available for comment, but The Times obtained copies of his letters to Rising, which include tart and aggressive language.

“Several times before I have offered to help, only to be ignored or rebuffed,” Maguire wrote. “To say the outlook for this company is bleak would be an understatement.”

After re-reading the company’s annual financial statements, he wrote, “I have grave concerns that this company can survive. Equally troubling, is that this management does not appear to have a clue, let alone a plan, about how to deal with the difficult situation in which is has placed the company.”

Rising said the company was committed to keeping its core assets in Los Angeles’ financial district.

“We have no intention of selling the downtown buildings,” Rising said. “Any of them.”

The company would entertain offers on Plaza Las Fuentes but is not soliciting them, he said.

Robert Maguire founded the predecessor to Maguire Properties in 1965 and took the company public in 2003. Rising was one of Maguire’s subordinates before leaving in 1994 to head another firm. Maguire Properties’ board hired Rising to take over after Robert Maguire resigned following a failed attempt to take the company private.

Shares of Maguire Properties closed up 42 cents at $3.67.