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The Poway business headquarters owned by contractor Brent Wilkes have been sold, and Wilkes, a figure central to the Randy “Duke” Cunningham scandal, avoided the auction that had been scheduled for last Thursday.

A California company called Ironwood 12 LLC made an initial $3 million payment toward purchasing the property from Wilkes’ company, Al Dust Properties LLC, on Jan. 30, according to the County Assessor’s Office. Wilkes had an unpaid mortgage balance of $12.1 million on the property as of Jan. 2, according to the auction notice.

On Wednesday, an official at the lender in charge of the scheduled auction on Wednesday (the day after the sale), said it had been postponed to March 29 due to a “mutual agreement.”

The agent associated with the Ironwood 12 LLC in its California Secretary of State listing is Paul E. Smithers. Federal Election Commission records show Smithers as an ADCS Inc. executive and corporate attorney for Wilkes Corp. in 2002.

The records also show he made donations to Cunningham and the ADCS Inc. Political Action Committee.

Smithers has not returned calls this week.

John Collins, deputy superintendent for the Poway Unified School District, said the district is working with Smithers and still hopes to acquire the property, though the sale came as a surprise to him last week.

In an interview this afternoon, Collins said if negotiations are successful, the district would use the building to house administration offices, as well as using some of the amenities of the building for community events, like a theater and a karaoke room Wilkes included for employees.

A representative for developer Will Gustafson, who would develop a 10-acre parcel of school district land in Bernardo Heights to be used in a three-way swap for the property, had no further information about the sale, but said Gustafson was “waiting to see what would happen next.”

Wilkes defaulted on a $7.5 million loan tied to two of his homes at the end of 2006, representing a personal effect of his businesses’ collapse after being named co-conspirator No. 1 in the Cunningham scandal. You can read more here.

KELLY BENNETT

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