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Ex-South Bay Superintendent Looks At Unloading Condo To Taxpayers

SAN JOSE (CBS 5) -- A luxury condominium in Downtown San Jose belonging to retired Santa Clara County superintendent Dr. Charles Weis is at the center of a debate that could cost taxpayers.

In 2008, Weis purchased the 18th floor luxury penthouse at the Axis building for $980,000. The Santa Clara County Office of Education lent Weis $915,000 as an incentive to relocate to San Jose from Ventura County.

But soon after Weis bought the condo, the real estate market tanked. Weis recently retired and moved back to Southern California.

Facing a deadline to pay off the loan, Weis is now asking county education officials to take back the property, which is valued $300,000 - $400,000 less than he paid for it.

"This is another bailout," said Mark Hinkle of the Santa Clara County Taxpayers' Association. "The point is that if he had made a profit, we wouldn't be hearing from him. He's about to lose some money. He doesn't want to take responsibility for the economic decision he made and he wants the taxpayers to pick up the tab. Not appropriate."

Weis was not available for comment. He told the San Jose Mercury News, "If the county office handles it right, they won't lose anything on it. They'll be able to lease it or sell it."

Curtis Gonzales recently bought a unit at the Axis, at the reduced price. He said some of his neighbors are struggling to keep their condos while waiting for the market to rebound, and there are no special deals for them.

"They're underwater, they want to move, they've got families, they want to expand their house but they can't," Gonzales said. "So this guy has the opportunity perhaps through the taxpayers and I'm sure most taxpayers would disagree with that."

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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