Idaho's Weekly Journal of Local & National Commentary Week 2815


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by Free Market Duck

Ada County screws taxpayers, again…pays Cryptic Partners $1.4 million for $900,000 office space in Eminent Domain settlement
(Jun 13, 2007)

 Ada County owns the land but who actually owns the Ada County Courthouse building since the Commissioners are "renters" not "owners" of the building?"

Boise, ID – Wake up taxpayers.  You’ve been screwed again by the Ada County Commissioners and Civic Partners.

   The Commissioners met on Nov 7, 2006, and ordered a Condemnation via Eminent Domain, Chapter 7, Title 701 of the Idaho Code, for 39,000 sq ft of office space in newly-built Ada County Courthouse. The Eminent Domain Condemnation was signed by Chairman Rick Yzaguirre, Judy Peavey-Derr, and Fred Tillman after Civic Partners (Cryptic Partners of the $136 million University Place fiasco fame) refused to accept Ada County’s appraised offer of $900,000.

   Refused to accept?  Wait a minute.  Not that we’re on the side of the Ada County Commishes but Eminent Domain means the government doesn’t have to appease the victim; the government, by definition of Eminent Domain, simply takes the property.  So why did the Ada County Commishes give Cryptic Partners an extra $555,200 above the appraised value for the sublease?  Question number 2:  by what method did Ada County obtain a $900,000 appraisal in the first place since Cryptic Partners wasn’t able to rent virtually any of the retail office space in the Courthouse, except for a now defunct deli, since the building was completed in 2002?

   Nobody seems to know but on April 4, 2007, in Court Case # CV OC 0622141 (Parcel 7), judgment was entered in favor of Defendant Civic Partners Idaho LLC (Cryptic Partners) to receive $1,455,200 for Defendant’s property interests in Parcel 7 (Condemnation of Property through Eminent Domain) by presiding Judge Deborah Bail.  Happy Birthday, Cryptic.  Here’s an extra $555,200 from the Ada County taxpayers.

   Further complicating this issue is that while Ada County owns the 14 acres of land called the Courthouse Corridor, upon which the Courthouse sits on an acre or two, Ada County does not legally “own” the Ada County Courthouse building per se.  In fact, Ada County officially “rents” the Courthouse building on an annual renewable basis in order to get around the Idaho Constitutional requirement of having to obtain a 2/3 vote of the voters to go into multi-year debt, a vote they did not get.  This, by the way, is the very same “illegal” methodology that Ada County used to initially purchase the land, i.e. by using a fake corporation called The Friends of the Ada County Judicial System, Inc. who pretended to “buy” the land for $4 million over 4 years while Ada County pretended to “rent” the land from The Friends, even though the Ada County Treasurer gave initial checks totaling $800,000 to The Friends so The Friends could buy the property from Union Pacific Railroad.  The face of the two checks stated “for purchase” of UPRR, not rent.  Oops.  (Read the book Boise’s Watergate for all the sordid details.)

   The real question is:  who owns the Courthouse building since Ada County is a “renter” not an “owner” and, therefore, does Ada County have legal standing to condemn a portion of a building they sublease from Cryptic Partners who is busy leasing the building from the CCDC (Urban Renewal Agency)?  If CCDC “owns” the Courthouse building, and is leasing the building to Cryptic Partners, shouldn’t the CCDC have received compensation for the loss of valuation of their lease to Cryptic?  But if that’s true, how did the CCDC obtain “fee title” of the Ada County Courthouse building and sell bonds to pay for the $60 million to $100 million to build the Courthouse?  They couldn’t have bought the building from Ada County because, remember, Ada County is a ha-ha “renter,” not an “owner,” wink-wink.

   Buildings are typically listed as “improvements” to land and are owned by the owner of the physical land site.  Have you ever heard of the owner of a piece of real estate leasing a building on their own property from somebody else?  Sell the building but not the land underneath it?  OK, let’s assume that it can happen.  My question is:  how did the CCDC (Urban Renewal Agency) purchase the Courthouse building on the Ada County site before it was built?  And from whom did they buy it since Ada County never “owned” the Courthouse building.  Once again, Ada County is the “renter,” not the “owner” of the building.

   The truth is, everybody involved in the Ada County Courthouse deal is a freaking crook.  And those who cheered for the “illegal” methodology are as guilty as the crooks.  As the author of Boise’s Watergate predicted, the original Ada County Courthouse Scam from 1996 – 2002 created the University Place fiasco, in which 4 individuals have plead guilty and which is not over, and has now created an Eminent Domain Scam.

   Meanwhile, in the next court room across the hall, in Case # CV OC 0405740 D, in the 4th District Court with Judge Hurlbutt presiding, plaintiff University of Idaho Foundation is busy suing Civic Partners West LLC, Civic Partners Idaho LLC, and Civic Partners, Inc. for at least $7 million in the ongoing $136 million University Place fiasco.  The original complaint was filed sometime around June 2, 2005, and has dragged on through rescheduled trials from Mar 13, 2006, April 17, 2006, May 2006, Jan 2007, until now, April 18, 2007.  On Nov 1, 2004, before all the trial dates, Civic Partners offered to settle for $250,000 payable to the U of I Foundation.  The UIF declined.

   Several big questions remain:  (1) who owns the Ada County Courthouse building, and (2) why did Ada County overpay Cryptic Partners $555,200 in their phony Eminent Domain settlement?  (Note:  Remember it was ex Commissioner Judy Peavey-Derr who chaired the original 11-member Committee to choose Cryptic Partners as developer for the entire 14-acre Courthouse Corridor and on the same day received a political donation from Cryptic Partners’ precursor corporation, Wilmore Holdings.)

   Looks like the Ada County Commissioners, the Courthouse Scam and the University Place fiasco is Boise’s multi-million-dollar gift to Civic Partners that just keeps on giving -- with no end in sight. – Deep Throat II

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