Keeping an eye on local government

July 4, 2012
Gilbert farmer in controversial 2009 land deal sued

The Gilbert dairy farmer who made millions of dollars in 2009 from a controversial land deal with the town has been sued by a Valley real-estate company that claims it had exclusive listing rights to part of the property.

Scottsdale-based Commerce Realty Advisors is seeking damages worth $468,570 plus interest for a commission on the 60-acre parcel farmer Bernard Zinke sold Gilbert for $300,000 an acre.

The deal was part of a complex transaction that helped Gilbert secure land for future parks and road improvements but cost taxpayers $50.2 million. The deal generated a controversy in September 2010 when The Arizona Republic disclosed that town officials failed to secure an appraisal during negotiations, and that land experts said the "head-scratching" purchase price was out of tune with market prices in the area.

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