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LETTER: Conflict of interest evident in Chamber building sale

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To the Editor:

This letter is about Mitchell Republic’s Nov. 11 article about the deal the Chamber of Commerce made with Jason Bradley for the old Mitchell Republic building — even though his wife just quit her job with the Chamber. The city purchased it for $300,000.00 in 2017. The city sold it to the chamber for $100,000.00. Earlier this year the Chamber sold it to Jason Bradley for $100,000. although it was assessed at $205,420. The Bradleys also got the liquor license — which last time I checked cost $180,000. So who really got the good deal? Not the taxpayer! Chamber CEO Geri Beck defended the sale stating — “they're going to spend a lot to make it a really nice restaurant.”

So what.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could buy property for half the assessed value because “we’ll have to spend a lot to make it nice.”

The article states that Bradley's wife wasn't working for the Chamber at the time of the sale, she left the organization shortly before the sale went through. That leads me to believe — as it should others — that all the “wheeling and dealing” was done before she quit — then shortly before the “deal” was done — she left her role at the Chamber. That's a huge conflict of interest. Sounds alot like the Casey’s lot deal.

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Councilman Smith rejected the notion the city suffered any losses. I think he meant the City Council and Mayor because a lot of taxpayers think we did. Let's not forget the city is “we the taxpayers” not just those of you sitting behind the tables on the 1st and 3rd Mondays at City Hall. He also said the property was worth a lot because of the Corn Palace and high foot traffic- yet the Chamber sold it for half of the assessed value and they threw in a liquor license. Why wasn't it advertised for the best offer — especially in a hot market.

Why do the taxpayers have to help subsidize the restaurant and hotel industry just so they can stay full?

No wonder the little guy can never get ahead.

Stewart Hanson

Mitchell

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