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Monday, Nov 04 2013 11:04 AM

Cole confirms investigation

BY DAVID BURGER, Californian staff writere-mail: dburger@bakersfield.com

Carl Cole, the older half of the high-profile local real estate agency Crisp & Cole, confirmed Friday that the state Department of Real Estate has been investigating him and his mortgage company.

Cole, 59, scaled back his partnership with David Crisp last year to focus on the company, Tower Lending, and to help his son, Alan Cole, at Points West Realty. He also is still working on Crisp & Cole's plan to build two towers at Cal State Bakersfield.

But he and Tower Lending are the focus of the state Department of Real Estate, he said Friday. He denied any wrongdoing on his part.

He was told of an alleged 14-page filing with 10 code violations by several TV news stations during his 33rd anniversary dinner with his wife Friday, he said.

"I've never even seen the filing," Cole said, so he was reluctant to comment on the charges.

The state alleged that Cole and Tower Lending violated a number of state codes through "negligence, fraud or dishonest dealing, substantial misrepresentation and failing to exercise reasonable supervision over the activities of his salespersons," according to KBAK-TV 29 news.

Cole said part of that stems from an unlicensed salesman Cole hired in 2005 to work at Tower Lending. Hired from what he called a reputable competitor, the man turned out to be unlicensed and Cole fired him after only three months, Cole said.

Cole didn't want to comment on allegations that he didn't supervise his salespeople since he hadn't seen the accusations.

He has legal representation to deal with the charges, Cole said, and blamed some of the undue attention with being a "high-profile" broker. "It comes with the territory," he said.

Efforts to reach representatives from the state and employees of Cole were unsuccessful Friday.

Cole's former partner Crisp has not been linked to any of the alleged wrongdoing.

Crisp and Cole are still working with Cal State administrators on a proposed $400 million twin-tower complex on the campus. The California State University board of trustees gave the project conceptual approval in late January.

Crisp is working to secure the financing and is in talks with investors in New York and the United Kingdom, Cole said last week.

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