Another congressman with land problems!
Over the past few years, Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL) bought six parcels of Nicaragua land -- at greatly discounted prices -- but failed to list three of them on his congressional financial disclosure forms, according
to a new article in the Chicago Reader
. The value of the unreported land is conservatively estimated to be more than $500,000.
Weller has since sold one of the "secret" plots, according to the alt-weekly. It's probably no surprise that he also failed to report his proceeds (estimated to be at least $85,000) from that sale.
To make matters even worse, Weller may be drastically under-reporting the value of three Nicaraguan plots he admits owning.
conservatively estimates the value of the land Weller reports owning to be around $1 million. In May, Weller vouched on his congressional forms that the plots were worth only $200,000 to $450,000.
Weller's plots are either beachfront or near the beach, making them prime for resort development. Local real estate agents and a government expert told the Reader
that such property has sold for anywhere from $50 to $80 per square meter. Weller bought his properties for anywhere from 24 cents per square meter to $8.75 per square meter, according to records obtained by the paper.
Weller is married
to a Guatemalan legislator, who also happens to be the daughter of Guatemala's former dictator, Gen. Efrain Rios Montt.
Weller's office referred the Reader
's questions to Weller's lawyer, who referred them to another lawyer, who declined to comment. CQPolitics.com rates
Weller's House seat "Safe Republican."