[KB Home’s Runkle Canyon development is now called Arroyo Vista at the Woodlands]
Simi Valley’s Radiation Rangers took no time in blasting home building giant KB Home yesterday as news of its former head, Bruce Karatz, was convicted on four of twenty charges related to a secret stock backdating scandal. Karatz, 64, faces 80 years in prison. His lawyer says that he will appeal.
“I will continue to get strength from the support of my family, including my wife, children and grandchildren, good friends and former colleagues,” Karatz said in a statement after the convictions were announced in court.
“And while this is personally a challenging time, what I continue to value from my time as the CEO of KB Home is the fact that we successfully built a strong company, created more than 5,000 good paying jobs and executed upon a business strategy that created very, very significant shareholder value — all resulting in KB Home being listed in 2006 as one of “America’s Most Admired Companies”.
The Rangers aren’t buying it and say so on their website StopRunkledyne.com in a post readied for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day called “Runkle Canyon Robber Baron Convicted!”
“We say hogwash – Karatz made $135.6 million in 2005 alone,” the Rangers wrote. “Only three other public company executives in the United States made more that year but that wasn’t enough for Karatz, obviously. This man who okayed buying polluted Runkle Canyon for KB Home made $227.4 million over a five year stretch but it wasn’t enough for man who counts among his friends one of KB Home’s founders, Eli Broad.”
The self-styled group includes “Perchlorate Patty” Coryell, “Toxic Terry” Matheney and “The Good Reverend John” Southwick and have fought for four years to force KB Home to properly test and remediate Runkle Canyon, no small feat. KB Home made $11 billion in 2006 alone yet for all its billions the Westwood-based company hasn’t been able to force the project through primarily because of pollution problems first exposed by EnviroReporter.com.
Karatz’s conviction on charges of two counts of mail fraud and two counts of making a false statement to regulators resulted in strong Ranger reaction:
“A quarter of billion dollars wasn’t enough for Karatz and now he faces the rest of his life in the slammer. But we, the Radiation Rangers and the knowledgeable citizens of Simi Valley say ENOUGH! We have fought KB Home to a standstill over Runkle Canyon since 2006 and we aren’t giving an inch to the greedy profiteers that would mindlessly expose thousands of Simi and San Fernando valleys residents to untold amounts of radiation and chemical poisons if these developers who have the Mayor and City Council in their pockets, build their 461 homes in this canyon. Not one inch!
“So on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day tomorrow, we say to KB Home: CLEAN UP RUNKLE CANYON!!!”
On this special anniversary of Earth Day, it is especially gratifying that the work of EnviroReporter.com, along with the LA Weekly, Ventura County Reporter and Los Angeles CityBeat & ValleyBeat, would help generate enough community concern about a controversial environmental issue that it resulted in a group as effective and determined as the Radiation Rangers.