In 2018, three single-family home building lots were in foreclosure in upper North Mankato. The amount owed was $221,568, an amount that included $101,568 owed to the city of North Mankato for the installation of city utilities.

At the May 7, 2018, council meeting, the council approved the following transaction with a local realtor: The realtor would pay Nicollet County $221,568, the total assessed valuation, for the three lots.

Within two weeks the city of North Mankato would reimburse the realtor $101,568 — the value of the unpaid assessments.

Therefore, the realtor paid $120,000 for all three lots and North Mankato taxpayers provided all the utilities for free. One council member justified the deal saying the lots were poorly located and could not be easily sold for the assessed value of $221,568.

However, the realtor eventually sold the three lots for a total of $224,050 — more than the county’s original valuation of $221,568, realizing a profit of $104,050. No explanation was given as to how the particular realtor involved was selected.

This is not the first time that the current leadership of the city of North Mankato entered into a fiscally questionable land deal. For instance, the city originally agreed to sell the Marigold II site to a developer for $1 and approved five variances that, as a result of a citizen lawsuit, proved to be illegal. The land was ultimately sold to a different developer for $200,000 without any variances.

Deals like these clearly show poor stewardship of taxpayer dollars and poor fiscal judgement. In the upcoming November election, vote for fiscal responsibility by electing a new council and mayor.

Tom Hagen

North Mankato

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