Breaking news: Hell of a deal

October 19, 2012

Garfield County

* UPDATE 10/23/12 — See below * 

Last April 2012, the Garfield County BOCC (Chrmn John Martin, Mike Samson, Tom Jankovsky) approved the purchase of real estate properties at 201 8th Street, 720 Colorado Avenue, and 716 Colorado Avenue in Glenwood Springs (above) for $2,525,000.

When questioned back then about the deal by PI Reporter John Stroud, Martin and Gorgey rattled off a laundry list of options for uses of the property. Martin said downtown parking, pocket parks, alley beautification, good neighbors. Gorgey said parking space, maybe more office space.

Garfield County to acquire downtown property
Existing business leases will continue for now

They paid $2.5 mill for parking spaces? The point is they paid a premium for these properties with no specific purpose in mind. Maybe this … er … maybe that … good neighbors?

Now we’re going to show you that the BOCC paid more than twice the appraised value of those properties.

Under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), Carl McWilliams (Silt Mesa resident) requested the documents pertaining to the sale of these properties.

Warranty Deed
This is the Warranty Deed which verifies Garfield County and the BOCC purchased the properties on June 1, 2012, for $2,525,000. The property description is:
The West 50 feet of Lots 17 and 18, Lots 19, 20, 21 and 22 and the South 5 Feet of Lot 23
Block 43
City of Glenwood Springs

Property Appraisal
This is the appraisal of three properties dated September 21, 2011. Please note the property addresses and descriptions which correspond with the addresses and property descriptions in the Warranty Deed and the property addresses at the Garfield County website. On Page ii (page 3) you will see the appraised values of each parcel.
Parcel 15: 201 8th Street (West 50′ of Lots 17 & 18, Block 43) — $450,000
Parcel 16: 720 Colorado Avenue ( Lots 19 & 20, Block 43) — $320,000
Parcel 17: 716 Colorado Avenue ( Lots 21, 22 and the South 5. 0′ of 23, Block 43) –$325,000
The total appraised value of all three properties — $1,095,000

Emails between Carl McWillians and Andrew Gorgey, Garfield County Manager
In this recent email chain, Gorgey verifies the appraised value of $1,095,000 and the county’s purchase price of $2,525.000.

Let’s be clear about what we just showed you. During this recession, with declining or steadily holding real estate values, the BOCC paid more than twice the appraised value for three parcels, with no specific purpose in mind, therefore under no duress to pay such a premium – just because.

Because why?

Ed Green was the county manager when the appraisal came in last year. One of the reasons he was fired last January was because he dared to challenge Martin, Samson, and Jankovsky about the purchase price of these properties.

The difference between the appraised value and purchase price is a whopping $1,430,000. Think of what the county could have done with that much money. Grants to school districts, early childhood programs like Head Start, assistance programs for Senior Citizens, food, housing and fuel assistance to the poor and working poor … the mind reels.

Mike Samson says, “We have been vigilant, resourceful and determined to spend your tax dollars wisely in all matters.”

Paying more than twice the value of property in a depressed market doesn’t seem like a wise investment by anyone’s standards. It is certainly not “common sense fiscal policy.” Over-paying $1.4 mill for property makes no sense at all.

While Samson and Martin played fast and loose with taxpayers dollars, how many people lost their homes?

The people of Garfield County are hurting in this recession. They deserve better government.

======================================

*10/23/12 This article appeared in today’s PI
Garfield County’s downtown Glenwood land deal scrutinized
BOCC agreed to pay more than twice appraised value

A few thoughts come to mind here:
+ The Commissioners admittedly spent taxpayer dollars without public scrutiny.
+ The reasoning behind it is bass-ackwards. Martin and Samson defend the purchase for future downtown development plans — but they don’t have any downtown development plan in the works.
+ This post was published on Friday (10/19). Martin and Samson had the whole weekend to get their stories straight.

 

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9 Comments on “Breaking news: Hell of a deal”

  1. Jeanne Huyser Says:

    Peggy, the one piece of information I looked for and didn’t see was WHO owned the property when the County purchased it. In addition to who owned it, I’m interested in why you chose not to mention the owner by name. Thanks!

  2. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    If you click on the link to the Warranty Deed you will see that Stephen Worrell and Anthony Durrett are listed as the sellers of the property(ies). They are also identified as the owners in the PI article from May 1, as well as the appraisal. I don’t have anything to say about them as the owners and/or sellers. There is certainly no evidence of coercion. Besides they are lawyers, therefore I prefer not to speculate since I don’t know.

  3. Mary Russell Says:

    Thanks for sharing this information Peggy. I had the same question about the sellers. Is Durrett related to the guy who owns Italian Underground?

  4. Jeanne Huyser Says:

    Point well taken, Peggy. Obviously I missed the PI article!
    Thanks so much for your speedy response!

  5. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Mary, you a welcome. I don’t know if Durrett is related to the owner of the Italian Underground. I’m focused on the behavior of public officials, not private citizens.

  6. Mary Russell Says:

    Got it. There’s usually something more to any story, and I’d hate to find out that our commission has a preference for the needs of one citizen over others.

  7. Carl Mc Williams Says:

    PUBLIC DEMAND FOR IMMEDIATE RESIGNATIONS –
    BOARD OF GARFIELD COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

    Chairman John Martin
    Commissioner Mike Samson
    Commissioner Tom Jankovsky
    GARFIELD COUNTY , COLORADO

    This public notice is a written demand for the immediate resignations of Chairman John Martin, Commissioner Mike Samson and Commissioner Tom Jankovsky from the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners, to become effective on or before 3:00 pm, Monday October 22, 2012.

    Chairman John Martin, Commissioner Mike Samson and Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, as proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the documents exposed within this blog: by your official acts and omissions as Constitutional Officers and Garfield County Commissioners, you have dishonored your office and desecrated your sworn oath to the US and Colorado Constitutions, Therefore I demand that you submit your resignations forthwith.

    Be very cognizant: In matters such as these, it always fares less pain for everyone, when there is an immediate resignation on the part of the public official who personally made the poor choices and the unethical acts and omissions.

    Furthermore, the documents presented within this blog strongly suggest that Martin, Samson & Jankovsky, by their acts and omissions as County Commissioners, have caused injury to former County Manger Ed Green in the form of Constitutional Torts. Which is actionable under 42 USC, Sec. 1983, by a civil action filed directly against Martin, Samson & Jankovsky, whereby there is no immunity from civil litigation for the three County Commissioners. Therefore, I strongly suggest that Martin, Samson & Jankovsky expeditiously establish an attorney/client relationship with competent legal counsel.

    Chairman John Martin, Commissioner Mike Samson and Commissioner Tom Jankovsky I implore you; any delay in your resignations will only further injure and add insult and pain to you, to your families, and to We the People of Garfield County, Colorado.

    I demand that you resign from the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners immediately.

    Signed,

    Carl L. Mc Williams
    American Citizen in Good Standing
    Registered Voter
    Resident of Garfield County, Colorado
    Constituent of Commissioner Mike Samson
    Silt Mesa, Colorado 81652

  8. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Thank you Carl McWilliams! Your excellent research and persistence made it possible to shine the light on this real estate deal.

  9. Sonja Linman Says:

    I would like to respond –
    I am very comfortable asking for explanation and full disclosure when purchasing property at 1.4 mm over appraised value. I also feel comfortable requesting information regarding the increased real estate transactions as of late –

    However, I would hesitate to place blame on Ms. McGregor for perhaps taking the time to fully research the story nor would I encourage assumptions about the sellers – I am sure there is much to the story.

    Thanks for your research regarding the facts- This is the kind of information that should be available to our communities.

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