For a millionaire real estate developer, Bob Penney has claimed to be remarkably ignorant of the true value of the riverfront property he sold to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) last year.
He sold Murkowski the wooded plot for $179,400, which happened to be the local assessed value in 2006 at the time of the sale. (The property was reassessed three days later for $214,000). Penney claims that when he sold the land to Murkowski he thought the assessed value at the time of the sale remained approximately $120,000, the assessed value in 2005.
"Word of honor, I did not know what the assessed value was," he said. "I thought it was still $120,000."
But maybe Penney wasn't so out of touch. A few months ago, Penney testified at a state hearing on the economic impact of sports fishing where he seemed much more familiar with assessments in the area. Penney spoke because he is an avid fisherman and a longtime advocate for recreational fishing in Alaska. Here's the audio from one of the comments he made during the hearing:
Here is a transcript of the audio above:
The economic value of the land along the Kenai River privately held from Skilak to Ames bridge; three years ago the assessed value to the borough of only the privately owned land was three hundred and thirty-five million dollars. As Mr. Busey just said to you, itâs increased since then. Now, I know itâs well over five-hundred, but we havenât seen what the boroughâs assessed it. But gentlemen and maâm, all that assessment in value came from one reason; cause thereâs fish in the river. And you put the fish in the river, and you put the fish in the inlet, and you give the opportunity for the public youâll see the economic engine run hard.
In addition, as we reported yesterday, Penney would have received notice of the new $179,400 assessment in March 2006, some nine months before he sold the property to Murkowski.