Thank goodness Charlottesville has two weeklies who consistently produce 5,000+ word investigative reports.* Will Goldsmith at C-Ville reports: (bolding mine)
But the Biscuit Run acquisition process, from start to finish, was a hasty affair that involved no public input and a network of businessmen and politicians with close ties. No one who negotiated the deal could control how much taxpayers paidâ€”the decision is left to a few unelected bureaucrats in the state tax department. It very well could have bailed out businessmen who had made an ill-timed real estate investment at the height of the bubble.
As far as I can tell, the story of Biscuit Run isn’t a story of illegal corruption. It is about something far more prosaic, and possibly more disturbingâ€”how influential people align their interests and justify their actions by saying they did it for you and me.
For background on Biscuit Run, do as I do and turn to the RealCentralVA.com archives and, better yet, Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Biscuit Run archives.
*It’s not a matter of “print” being dead, but of “journalism” succeeding.
More at the Charlottesville Bubble blog.
Update 27 October 2010: I didn’t realize how prescient I was when I wrote about Charlottesville’s two weeklies. Courteney Stuart at The HooK writes today:
It seems like a simple question: How much will taxpayers pay to make Biscuit Run a Virginia park?
Nearly a year after the state’s under-the-wire purchase of the 1,200-acre tract that had been slated to become Albemarle’s biggest subdivision, the would-be developers and state officials appear to have successfully deflected inquiries about the value of tax credits that made the deal possibleâ€” even as the Virginia state senator who penned the legislation establishing such tax credits now calls the secrecy â€œdisturbing.â€
The conservation extremist activists are already trying to stomp out the Biscuit Run scandal stories with spin control and pushing out their own version of events. Soon “public relations” firms will be giving us all more koolaid to drink.
Freedom of speech and honest ethical reporting is vital to stop this tragedy from happening again
There are too many hands in the cookie jar and too many examples of what appears like corruption. There must be a Zero Tolerance for abusive conservation easement practices.
PEC had been negotiating with Biscuit Run owners from back in 2007 and they are still on the “planning” board that is going to milk Virginians of more millions to develop it as a park. Yet we are losing $30 million to our schools. Our children’s education is more important. We’ve only scratched the surface. Investigation and punitive action is the only way to protect Virginia from consrvation land trust abuse