|Shawn and Sarah Vickery Baker
Shawn D. Baker, a developer at Blackwater Resources, appears on the Alabama list for AM. Blackwater spun off from AIG Baker in 2010, as the latter's partnership with AIG cratered amid the Wall Street crash and the imploding Bush-era economy. Blackwater, headed by president and CEO Alex Baker, has its headquarters at 700 Montgomery Highway, while AIG Baker remains in business, based at The Village at Lee Branch, which it developed.
Based on the limited Alabama public records available to us here in Springfield, Missouri, it appears Shawn Baker is Alex Baker's son. And Alex Baker is one of the major figures in the history of shopping-center development in Alabama -- plus some 20 other states. From a bio of Alex Baker:
In 1993, Mr. Baker and AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp. (AIG Global) founded AIG Baker, then A.B. Shopping Center Properties, Inc. Mr. Baker has served as President and CEO of the company since its founding. Mr. Baker previously held the office of CEO for Polar-BEK and Baker, which is the predecessor firm of AIG Baker. He has also served as Senior Vice President for Aronov Realty Company. Mr. Baker has twenty-five years experience in the real estate industry and has been responsible for the development of over 22,000,000 square feet of retail space.
Thanks largely to Alex Baker's history, it did not take Blackwater long to become a major player in the development game. From the company's Web site:
Blackwater Resources was formed in 2010 by former executives of AIG Baker Shopping Center Properties, L.L.C. During their real estate careers, the executives of Blackwater Resources, LLC developed, leased and managed in excess of 25 million square feet of property in 36 different states. Borrowing on the experience of these seasoned professionals and their unique perspective on the market, the company was founded on the principle of seeking solid investments, opportunities and partnerships that produce enduring value and relevance, firm relationship, and optimal returns and outcomes for all parties.
Upon its formation, the company immediately procured leasing and management opportunities for over 1.6 million square feet of retail property, including several properties Blackwater Resources executives originally developed. The properties include regional power centers, grocery-anchored shopping centers and neighborhood centers. It additionally added to its portfolio recreational and residential properties, and continues to add to its portfolio by actively seeking investment, development, brokerage and management opportunities.
What does Shawn Baker do? It appears he mostly rides daddy's coattails -- and those coattails apparently are strong enough that Shawn felt secure in screwing around on Ashley Madison, even though he's married and appears to have at least two children.
Based on published reports, Blackwater Resources does not appear to be out of the financial woods. According to a 4/6/16 article at The Auburn Plainsman, Blackwater is planning a 700-space parking garage, a 30,000-square-foot urban grocery and a 90–130-room boutique hotel. But Susan Hunnicutt, public-relations officer for the grassroots organization Keep Auburn Lovely, questions whether the company can pull it off:
"Five years ago they had a real string of bankruptcy projects, all of which were shopping center developments throughout the Southeast," Hunnicutt said.
According to Blackwater's website, Chairman Alex Baker founded Blackwater Resources from a previous company, AIG Baker Shopping Center Properties, along with several other former executives from the company.
Blackwater was built from what was left of AIG Baker after several bankruptcy filings in 2009 and 2010 following the Great Recession and the collapse of its equity partner and backer, the American International Group Inc., or AIG.
After over a year of untangling, Baker separated his company from AIG in spring 2010, according to an AL.com article.
But that was not before AIG Baker nearly lost two shopping centers in the Birmingham area to foreclosure: the Patton Creek shopping center — which was later sold by AIG Baker to a Miami-based real estate developer — and the Vestavia Hills City Center shopping center, which was put into bankruptcy protection in 2010 to prevent foreclosure.
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy was filed after the principal holder of the debt, Huntsville's Propst Properties, attempted to foreclose on the property, according to the article.
Alex Baker's image has taken a blow, and that has followed him to his new firm. From The Plainsman:
Chapter 11 bankruptcy often forces debt holders to renegotiate and restructure the debt of the filer, according to the article.
"If he's going to run out on his employees and his lenders, he might have no qualms about running out on the City of Auburn," Hunnicutt said.
AIG Baker also put two more shopping center properties in Deptford, New Jersey, and another called Fallschase in Tallahassee, Florida, into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, according to public records.
The predecessor to Blackwater Resources lost one of its largest properties, The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, after defaulting on a loan with JP Morgan Chase Bank, according to public records.
"Once that land is gone, they can sell it to any New York or out-of-state real estate development trust," Hunnicutt said. "Those guys, they're not going to care about what's going on in Auburn. They'll put anything they want to as long as it makes money for their line-item on their investment spreadsheet."
With the family business struggling to gain footing on rocky ground, you might think Shawn Baker would be too focused on financial matters to step in personal doo-doo. But he wound up fooling around on Ashley Madison, and one can only wonder how he was stupid enough to do that.
We sought comment from Shawn Baker for this article, but he has not responded to our queries.
Article with links to 1-20 in Ashley Madison series
(21) Craig Oliver, attorney, Springfield, MO (1/24/17)
(22) Craig Lowell, attorney, Wiggins Childs, Birmingham (1/26/17)
(23) Thomas Mancuso, tax attorney, Montgomery, AL (2/16/17)
(24) Nicholas Arciniegas, attorney, Washington, D.C. (2/21/17)
(25) Griffin McGahey, vice president, High Cotton USA, Birmingham (3/16/17)
(26) Matthew Couch, attorney, Cabaniss Johnson, Birmingham (3/23/17)
(27) Dr. Keron Vickers, chiropractor, Birmingham (4/4/17)
(28) D. Paterson Cope, president, wealth management, Birmingham (4/20/17)