Monday, February 28, 2005

Questions for the Landlord

The RFP for the permanent headquarters of the California stem cell agency admirably attempts to avoid any conflicts of interest with future landlords, but at the same time leaves a substantial ambiguity gap.

According to a CIRM press release, one of the requirements of a lease is a "letter signed certifying that the owner does not have and will not have in the future any ownership interest in any firms or agencies competing for grants to be awarded by the Institute."

The question is: What is ownership? Some folks say owning stock in a company is ownership. However, if the amount is only worth, let's say $10,000, is that ownership? What if it is $1 million? That may be only a fraction of one percent of the value of a company. But it could promise substantial gains if the stock rises.

What about ownership by spouses or minor children? What if the property is owned by a partnership, say 10 persons? Are all 10 required to meet the no-ownership ban?

It is impossible to write rules that cover every possibility, but this one needs a little clarification.


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