In its bid to enhance the Lake Park marina, Palm Beach County badly overpaid for land, according to the Palm Beach Post. Last year the county paid $2.4 million for a one-acre parking lot to the sellers, even though the county’s property appraiser valued the land at $626,000.
Worse still, the property, owned by Leasing of South Florida partners Wayne Creber, Ray Mancuse and Berton Korman, was in foreclosure as the owners owed $1.6 million on the mortgage. The county bailed them out by providing $800,000 on top of what they owed.
“When it is in foreclosure, you have more leverage to negotiate the price down,” said Palm Beach County Commissioner Jess Santamaria, who claimed she was not aware the property was in foreclosure when she voted in favor of the deal.
But the owners say the foreclosure filing was not a default, that they’d actually be losing money on the deal thanks to the hundreds of thousands of dollars they invested on top of the $2 million they paid for it in 2005 and that the process was fair and transparent.
The town wants Leasing of South Florida to build a restaurant on the site, even though the partners admit they have no experience in the restaurant business, and connect it to a forthcoming waterfront promenade. If the town fails to deliver, it will have to repay Palm Beach County the $2.4 million purchase price. [Palm Beach Post]