By: Steve Trubilla
I am going to ask the pointed question; just what is the true value of the Bull Creek Golf course property? Is it $1.1 million, $822,000, $700,000, $600,000, or something much less or greater?
Quoting from Carey Johnson's article in last week's paper: "Upon examining the property -- performing due diligence -- County Attorney Pete Tomlinson said the county negotiated the price down to $600,000.
The bank and sellers agreed, he said.
"We went back to (the owners) and the bank and discussed that it's not worth ($700,000)," Tomlinson said.
"But it is worth something to us to be able to build a park."
Did I, and did you, at this late date just read, "Upon examining the property--performing due diligence the county negotiated the price down to $600,000?"
When it comes to these kinds of things, often it appears many of our officials like to play I've got a secret. More and more I am finding many will not answer questions or, even return phone calls.
Where does the "buck really stop" on responsibility? By name specifically, who is accountable? This is a real question that needs to be answered.
After many months of considering the property, what finally appeared to be an agreed upon price of $700,000, the price dramatically drops $100,000.
How is it possible we have this condition, with this kind of money on the table? It is openly being said the property has not before been subjected to sufficient examination or due diligence?
My initial reaction is someone call the sheriff, followed by someone calling a doctor. Could it be some of the people involved with this need their heads examined?
Great Caesar's ghost, who does this? The basic question of true value not answered.
The county is literally only the time it takes for a signature or two away from closing this, and making it final.
I cannot say with certainty who reads this column. I truly hope there is at least one judge, maybe the district attorney, a state official, or someone empowered to stop this from moving forward until the hard questions are answered.
The wheels need to be put back on this wagon.
Just any deal is not a good deal, and checking the box to dispatch this is simply not acceptable. After waiting more than four years what is to be gained by now rushing forward? There is a great deal of land in Franklin County, and holding on to the money is not costing anything.
I call upon the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, individually, and as a body, to stand this down until such time as it is thoroughly vetted. At this point I feel it is the right and only course of action.
Our county attorney, the citizens' attorney, has stated, "It's worth something," and I agree. Let me say this again, IT IS WORTH SOMETHING! Well, of course it is, but what? Where is the appraisal? A real one from a third and disinterested party, not someone connected to this "deal" in any way.
My opinion is any official with a personal or business interest should be totally removed from the equation.
At this point every official involved should be required to execute a sworn document of full disclosure.
Just exactly what does the statement by one elected official, an approving official, of "I have kept my distance" mean?
There are accepted methods and processes to determine the value of property. They are time tested and enduring. The product of lessons learned.
If the buyer, seller, or their agents leverage their interest, these methods and processes are compromised. You have to start from an unbiased point with clean hands to have an "At Arm's Length" negotiation.
Anyone familiar with real estate knows the doctrine of, At Arm's Length. If you are not familiar with it, do a little research. Talk about your, due diligence. Applying and understanding this is the foundation of it.
Banks and owners were more than willing weeks if not days ago, and even now to accept the $700,000, or more, and would have, had it not been for questions that surfaced. Now they agree the property does not hold that value.
Riddle me this Mr. Wizard, how can this be acceptable?
This property was in foreclosure, others have shown interest. As the price continues to fall it is possible they may now have renewed interest. The current operation of this is clearly compromising that interest.
Fair market value of a foreclosed property is whatever the market will bear. Not what insiders dictate or special interests manipulate. Foreclosure is the market place for distressed property.
I feel the property should be returned to foreclosue, allowing market forces to play out.
The government's interest does not trump the people's interest, and they are not meant to be mutually exclusive.
Let it not be forgotten, if this property is purchased by a private person, the county benefits from the property taxes, a benefit to be realized for many years in the future. The people of Franklin County do not lose if this happens. If the county buys this property, tax dollars will be required to maintain it.
This "deal" reminds me of a story about a teenager looking at a used car. He asks the salesman, "So what is the price?"
The salesman replies, "How much do you have?" We all know how it works out in the end. The teen learns a hard lesson. How many times must this lesson be learned?
Well, evidently school is still in.
Next week's class may be on a change order of $42,000 that adds an estimated $48,000 for the jail renovation.
Bring your workbook on building codes. Be prepared for a class on how to properly prepare something called," A Scope of Work".
Administrative note: There will be a test at the end of the class, bonus points to those preforming due diligence. All others expect to fail, no special deals.