Chesterfield taxpayers could pay $1.8 million for vacant land valued at $231,000

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CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI) - A pricey west St. Louis County deal with a nearly $2 million dollar price tag. Now it seems Chesterfield taxpayers are getting the shaft over a piece of vacant land they didn't need after all. Elliott Davis catches up with a Chesterfield city council member who was in on this deal with your dollars.

"I would say that since I'm leaving city council after 18 years, Payton Manning and I have something in common. We're retiring after 18 years. Call Payton and He"ll give you the right answer." said Mike Casey.

Chesterfield Councilman Mike Casey didn't consult Payton Manning when he signed you up for a land deal that taxpayers are still paying for. The deal was signed in 2009. The City Council agreed to lease a vacant piece of land for 10 years at $85,000 a year.

The council at the time also signed agreed to an option to buy the land for a million dollars after the 10 year lease was up. The appraised value of the one and a half acre piece of land was just $231,000.

Officials thought of using the land as a parking lot for a trail. But as it turned out they didn't need it after all.

A lot of Chesterfield residents had their doubts about this deal from the very start. John Hammond is a Chesterfield civic leader whose long had his doubts about this deal.

"It's somebody spending other people's money. They wouldn't do it with their own money." said John Hammond. "This would end up being 7-8 times the value of that property that they're going to pay for!"

Mike Casey said it seem like a good idea at the time but in retrospect it might not have been.

Coucilman Casey stepped down from the Council, as he said he decided not to run again this past April. Councilwoman Connie Fults ran for re-election last month. The land deal became a campaign issue. Chesterfield voters, voted her out.

Mayor Bob Nation says the current Council has serious doubts about this deal. They have looked for ways to bail out. They found that the options are limited.

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