Iowa’s Attorney General has found no wrongdoing in a review requested by a state legislator of the sale of land for a controversial new driver’s license station.
State Representative Ed Fallon of Des Moines, who is running for governor, asked the Attorney General to review the purchase of land owned by the Aviation Expo near Ankeny in 1999. Fallon said he was concerned that developer Bill Knapp of Des Moines benefited from his association with the former director of the D-O-T.
A spokesman for the Attorney General, Bob Brammer, says they hired an independent appraiser to review the one-point-six-two million dollar purchase price. Brammer says the appraiser did a reverse appraisal and came up with a figure of three-million dollars, which says shows “a minor discrepancy and suggests that the Aviation Expo did sell its property at fair market value.” The difference in the sale price and the appraiser’s valuation of the land was 37-thousand dollars — or three percent.
There were questions raised because the non-profit Expo sold the land without first getting it appraised. Brammer says they indicated in a letter to Fallon that best practices probably dictate getting an independent appraisal of the land. But, Brammer says the appraisal shows that the land sold for fair market value even though there was not appraisal before the sale. Brammer says the Attorney General also addressed questions of conflict of interest in the sale.
Brammer says again the fact that the property sold for fair market value indicates that any conflict of interest did not have an impact on the sale price of the land. There have also been questions raised about inappropriate conflicts of interest by the professionals involved in the land sale. Brammer says those matters are not within the jurisdiction of the Attorney General, but are up to professional boards.
In an interview with Radio Iowa, Fallon says he’d like to get his own independent appraiser to look at the appraisal from the person hired by the Attorney General. Fallon says he appreciates the Attorney General looking into the matter and says he’s not sure he entirely agrees with the conclusion. Fallon says though until he’s had more time to review the appraisal, he can’t second guess the opinion the A-G’s offering.
Fallon, a democrat, says it’s good to at least see the Attorney General take some action. He says of the departments and agencies he talked to on the issue, the Attorney General’s action is more than he got from the county attorney, the governor and the legislature. Fallon doesn’t think he’ll be able to pursue any more investigation of the professionals involved in the transaction.
Fallon says the issue should be brought to the professional licensing board, and Fallon says he hasn’t initiated that and doesn’t know if he will have the time to do that.