County Outbids Citizen For Land

Jeff Wood lives in Hidden Springs and for years has dreamed of building his “dream home” atop a rugged bluff north of his current residence.

He contacted the owner, only to learn the property was in the midst of a legal battle and subsequent foreclosure action. He followed the land dealings through the legal process and ended up on the steps of the Ada County Sheriff Tuesday at a public auction.

Long story made short: Ada County sent a couple of employees–at least one was probably from the Prosecutor’s office–and bid the price up in $10,000 increments fast enough to scare off Wood. They got it for $240,000. Opening bid started at $211,000.

The GUARDIAN has made calls and sent e-mails to the Commisioners and their administrator–no one has responded. Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell had better luck and posted the COUNTY VERSION of events.

Based on the Statesman account the deal looks clean and tidy, all done for the benefit of county citizens. We hope that is true, but still note it is “irregular” to authorize a bid/purchase only two hours prior to acquiring land.

According to the Statesman report, Commish Ullman implies the county acquired the land at least in part to satisfy a tax lien of $10,403 and unspecified legal fees. While the county may now have land, it is off the tax rolls and cost taxpayers an additional $240,000 cash.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Karen Ragland
    May 11, 2012, 4:02 pm

    Thank you Murphy for doing the math. I was thinking land grabbing in Ada County is alive and well.
    I also would like to the see the rate for a billable hour that the city and county attorneys charge. It is public information.

  2. Clippityclop
    May 11, 2012, 4:03 pm

    Good reasons to stop thinking speculation and start moving toward permanent open space preservation for all of Ada County. Hikers, bikers, horseback riders and general outdoor enthusiasts, please send a letter suppporting preservation to the Ada County Commissioners, 200 W. Front Street, Boise 83702. Turn this into a win for citizens.

  3. So far, the “Why?” on this deal is weaker than Ullman’s current bid for the Max Dalton Open Government Award.

  4. More money spent without taxpayer input. Please vote Sharon Ullman out of office Tuesday. And remember all of this in 2 years and vote Rick Yzaguirre out in 2014

  5. Grumpy ole guy
    May 12, 2012, 2:22 pm

    Elected officials “represent” the public. So, does these mean that they await direction FROM the public, or act in anticipation FOR the public? Either way, the public is entitled to know the reasons for the decisions made, and the financial details of any/all such decisions. In the case of County Commissioners, their job is to set a budget, and to oversee the budgets and operations of the various county agencies. How does this particular decision relate to that- are we, the Citizens, not entitled to know? (Why, yes, I do love a rhetorical question, especially when it is followed by an actual answer).

  6. Concerned Neighbor
    May 13, 2012, 12:34 am

    KTVB ( reported Ullman as saying the county already owns land around there and it will be a “buffer for the landfill”. It took me forever to even figure out where it was (btw, it’s north of Dry Creek Road at Echanove Dr and McFarland Creek Rd). The entrance to the landfill is 3 miles away to the south with Hidden Springs and other small subdivisions between. How will this land be a “buffer” to anything? Between this shady deal and the lack of information provided to the public about the landfill incinerator project, I have absolutely no confidence in our County Commissioners.

  7. Well I bet the bank is happy!

  8. While we’ll never know, it would be interesting to learn how much the commish authorized the county to bid.

  9. Eric T, maybe the Gaudian can file a FOIR that aurthorized the purchase with the amount the county would go. And Concerned neighbor, the KTVB artlicle is really misleading. The location is not a buffer to the land fill.

  10. They went to executive session for this deal. FOIA exempt. The only way we’ll know is if someone spills the beans. Example: Hey, we got it for $240k. We could have had to pay $300k.

  11. Eric T. We do know that they were cavalier enough with our money to jump the bid in a $10K increment. It’s a shame that a little openness would change our comments considerably. We wouldn’t have to speculate on the “why.” We could debate the “what.” The same applies to lots of stories here.

  12. VOTE tomorrow. Hopefully the citizens of Ada County can at least stop anything else from happening. Can’t undo what has been done.

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