Profitable real estate deals: 500,000 euros annual rent! In the east, refugee homes have become a gold mine
In the Ostprignitz-Ruppin district, businessmen often buy properties that later become homes for refugees. A total of five million euros flowed from management to investors. There are signs of nepotism. Despite the additional costs, the region is holding out for cooperation.
The recognized resort of Flecken-Zechlin is a quiet and picturesque hamlet of 900 inhabitants. But on October 20, 2022, there was an uproar: the Ostburgnitz district administration invited Rubin to an informational evening. What was reported was 100 meters from the event tent: the ruins of a hotel that had been empty for years. The region wants to build up to 150 refugee housing there.
In addition to the project itself, the type of connection caused discontent. In January, the county announced the plan as an established fact. The news suddenly hit residents: “We’ve been in shock for three days,” said one resident. Mayor of Rheinberg, Frank Rudi Schuschoff (BVB Free Voters), are still trying to block the plan: with lawsuits, their own media events, and social media videos. More than 20 articles have appeared on the dispute, the latest being a long one
Search in MAZ
The media evening was attended by about 150 people. While asking questions to District Administrator Ralph Reinhardt (SPD) became more and more important, a man in a blue suit stood to one side. He was the owner of the hotel, one of the two “long-term partners” of the district who have often stood by the district since 2015, the district manager said with appreciation.
Five million euros since 2015 and indicators of preferential treatment
Whatever the motivation behind this willingness to help, it has been worth it for the business: They have received around five million euros from the region since 2015. If the planned refugee housing in Flecken-Ziklin is realized, another five million euros will flow in. Several clues allow suspicion of nepotism:
- The two bought properties four times, which shortly thereafter became refugee homes. Since 2015, they have received around three million euros in rental payments.
- When two homes were used for a shorter period than planned, the district paid €1.6 million in damages. It is not clear if these payments are mandatory.
- The neighborhood did not rent a building directly from the owner, but only through businessmen. They rented out the building and rented it for three times as much. Additional costs amount to more than 500,000 euros.
- The region keeps contracts with businessmen locked up. County deputies saw their right to examine files severely restricted. To this day, the administration has ignored file access requests from the press.
For the article, we named entrepreneurs Schmidtke and Peters, the real names are available to the editors. In order to understand the suspicion of nepotism, the transactions of the two must be described in more detail. Before that, it should be noted that the behavior of Schmidtke and Peters is not conservative, on the contrary, it causes a stir.
Neighbors report to the planned refugee home in Vliken-Zecklin: The construction sign is not attached to the edge of the property, but to the building itself. You can only get there if you give your personal data to the security service. The workers are transported by minibuses with Russian registration plates. Schmidtke and Peters show themselves in various fancy cars and are not very courteous towards their neighbors.
Surprisingly well aware of profitable deals
In November 2021, Peters bought the old hotel in Flecken-Zechlin with his company Lehmann Investment 2.0 GmbH. It has been vacant since 2012. In January 2022, the district announced that it wanted to establish a refugee home there. The purchase price was €470,000, and the annual rent from the neighborhood is between €480,000 and €504,000.
Find energy consumers in the house – this is how it works
Anyone who knows which appliances in the home consume how much electricity they can achieve targeted savings. Our e-paper shows which appliances consume the amount of electricity for all common household appliances, from ovens and stoves to refrigerators and washing machines to televisions and WLAN routers. There are also a number of immediate tips for saving energy.
In the summer of 2015, Schmidtke acquired two training hotels from a locally known sponsor, Initiative Youth Employment Neuroppin (IJN). These also became refugee shelters after a short time. Hotels were in other areas of the Rheinsberg: Zechlinerhütte and Luhme. At the end of 2014, Schmidtke purchased the former mother and child home of the German Red Cross (DRK) in Wusterhausen/Dosse via JXImmo GmbH. A few weeks passed between buying and renting a home for refugees in the area.
Regarding this information situation, the region’s press spokesman Alexander von Eulinecki said that “the real estate market in Ostburgnitz-Rubin is manageable and investors should have no problems finding suitable properties without any so-called ‘inside knowledge'”.
Despite the lack of money, great concessions from the administration
The aforementioned training hotels cost a total of 1.8 million euros. Schmidtke and Peters only made a down payment of €70,000 and were thus able to agree leases with the district as owners. Thanks to the resulting rents – a total of 40,300 euros per month – they negotiated a rental purchase with the seller. They transferred neighborhood rents one-to-one in loan installments.
The seller received ten percent interest on the loan given, which increased the purchase price from 1.8 to 2.1 million euros. Schmidtke and Peters made a down payment of less than four percent, and their property was paid off from rent. A triangle deal with one loser: the neighborhood.
In addition, the district paid high compensation. As the number of refugees decreased, the area abandoned shelters earlier than planned. The resulting rental loss was offset by a payment of €1.6 million. Was compensation necessary? According to the BGB, contracts can be modified if the commercial basis is lost: the number of refugees has changed dramatically.
In general, working with training hotels was great for Schmidtke and Peters: initially they invested 70 thousand euros, and after four years they had 1.6 million euros.
Great real estate deals in Wusterhausen too
The already mentioned house in Wusterhausen also became a gold mine. In 2014, Schmidtke’s company, JXImmo GmbH, bought it for €300,000. In 2020 it was resold for €732,000. The buyer was Lehman Europe GmbH, whose managing director is Peters. The refugee home is sold again in 2022, this time for €2.4m. During this time, a rent of 1.2 million euros was paid. The house is now partly owned by a Berlin businessman with operations in the Middle East, Kazakhstan and in Qatar Construction of gas turbines and pumping stations.
Likewise, the shareholders of Lehmann Europa are spread out: one company comes from Upper Palatinate, one from South Korea and a third from Singapore. The managing director of this company is Jörg Walberer, former editor-in-chief of Gala and Horzo magazines. Refugee homes seem to be in demand with a wide range of investors around the world.
Neighborhood refuses direct rent
An example that allows suspicion of nepotism: A hostel owner in Klosterheide offered this area as accommodation for refugees in 2014. But the area refused.
Then Schmidtke rented the lodge through an intermediary and offered it to the area again. Despite three times the rent, the management agreed and paid 21,300 instead of 6,000 euros. In three years of use, the difference amounted to approximately 540 thousand euros.
Local vicar and lawyer Hans-Georg Rieger confirms the operation. When asked, the district spokesperson said, “We can’t confirm the numbers. We don’t see a problem with dealing with public funds. In addition, the condition of the lodge would have made it impossible to rent it.”
Opaque information policy
The agreements between Schmidtke, Peters and the district are kept closed and key. The administration has granted limited access to the files to a few deputies from the district. An appointment came only months later, was limited to one hour, only hand notes were allowed, talking about the content was forbidden, and there was a risk of fines. “If I’m not allowed to talk to anyone about it, how can I do my control mission?” County councilor Siegfried Witkoff is complaining.
The county says that the contents of the file can be “clearly digested within the specified period with average reading ability.” The 71-year-old Wittkopf answers: “Can ten multi-page contracts be analyzed in one hour?” According to the district, all this happened on a “legal basis”. The insight granted supports control, but the contents of the contract are “essentially non-public”.
Research results have been provided to Schmidtke and Peters. Peters said these were “made up largely out of thin air and so utterly untrue that they don’t exist” and that the article was part of a “smear campaign”. Despite numerous letters, numerous emails, and phone calls from his business associates, including Peters and Schmidtke, they could not be reached.
The mayor of Rheinsberg, Frank Rudy Schuschoff, sees his suspicions confirmed by MAZ and FOCUS publications on the Internet. Filed criminal charges against LKAs Brandenburg and Berlinreported the Brandenburg Court of Auditors and the Anti-Corruption Department in Neuruppin.
However, the town of Fontane is also known as Korruppin: in the mid-2000s, a local politician was convicted there of drug trafficking and illegal gambling. The head of the public utility company embezzled €600,000 in favor of a football club. The tradition seems to live on, only this time it has a price tag of around a few million euros.
Other users are also interested in:
Also interesting for you:
The success of animal rights activists. The British king banned foie gras from his kingdom’s palaces. This has been confirmed by the animal rights organization PETA. Stuffing goose and duck is cruelty-free and illegal in the UK, but importing the product is not.
Over ten million people watched “Wetten, dass…?” Saturday evening with Thomas Gottschalk. The show was a clear winner – but it lost a lot in the ratings compared to the year before.
After leaving Downing Street, Boris Johnson embarked on a very profitable second career. He earns an hourly wage of over 37,000 euros. Travel and accommodation costs can also be paid for in addition.
Also interesting for you:
Singles’ Day is hardly over when Black Friday announces itself with exciting deals: Although there’s still a good week and a half until the infamous Friday, there are already some great discounts on technology, home appliances, fashion, jewelry, toys and much more. We explain where you can save big before November 25, 2022.