Biscuit Run “Donation” Keeps Getting More Expensive

The specifics of how the Biscuit Run deal went down have been trickling out over the past couple of months, but The Hook got a real break recently when somebody gave them some confidential documents detailing some of the finances behind it. In this week’s cover story, Hawes Spencer writes about the ever-increasing cost to taxpayers of the state’s acquisition of the failed housing development. Hunter Craig, Coran Capshaw, and Boyd Tinsley were all investors (among others) in the 3,100 unit housing development on 1,200 acres just south of town. But spending $46.2M to buy that land only made sense in the crazy logic of the housing bubble. They put the planned “Fox Ridge” development on hold two years ago, and wound up selling the land to the state for $9.8M. Which is probably about what it was worth. But then they started negotiating tax credits—which is to say, taxpayer dollars—and that’s where the latest story unfolds. We’ve got a suspicious appraisal ($87.7 million), ever-increasing valuations, developers who may manage to turn a profit on this boondoggle, and what generally looks like a serious lack of accountability. Although it looks like the state should really investigate this apparent abuse of the open space donation system, both the governor and the attorney general have close ties to Craig, so that’s probably not going to happen. Read the article—it looks like quite a story is unfolding.

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