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Idaho Land Managers Stand by Land Swap

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Department of Lands formally responded to a group that last month accused the agency of inflating the value of property involved in a 2012 land swap. Director Tom Schultz said Wednesday he’s sticking by his $6.1 million appraisal of a privately-owned Idaho Falls commercial property. The state acquired the property in a deal that eventually shifted ownership of 14 acres of state endowment land on Payette Lake to the University of Idaho. State Reps. John VanderWoude of Nampa and Grant Burgoyne of Boise blasted the deal, arguing the Idaho Falls property was worth $4.5 million, according to their appraiser. Schultz’ letter defending Idaho’s appraisal contends VanderWoude and Burgoyne relied on an appraiser qualified to value residential property, not commercial buildings. Schultz also says the lawmakers’ appraisal doesn’t meet standards.

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