Georgia prepares to buy Oaky Woods tract

The state moved one step closer Wednesday toward buying 10,015 acres of the Oaky Woods tract in Middle Georgia after a divided Natural Resources Board approved spending $28.7 million in taxpayer money for it.

The board voted 11-6 in favor of buying the land from a group of investors called Oaky Woods Properties LLC, which planned to develop the property before the real estate market crashed. The proposal now goes to the State Properties Commission for a decision Monday.

After Wednesday’s vote, some Natural Resources Board members said the state is preparing to pay too much for the land. State records show two separate appraisals were done for a larger chunk of the property — 10,215 acres — this year. One totals $24.5 million – or $2,405 per acre — and the other totals $30.7 million, or $3,009 an acre.

The state is now preparing to pay $2,874 per acre. In comparison, Oaky Woods Properties bought the land years ago for $1,600 an acre.

“It was too high,” board member Thomas Wheeler Jr. said of the proposed sales price after voting against the purchase.

Other board members said they voted for the purchase to protect the pristine wilderness from development. State officials say that tract is popular among hunters and fishermen and serves as a home to black bears, endangered plant species and unique prairies.

“If we want our children or grandchildren to be able to see how beautiful this state is, we have got to save these properties,” said board member Warren Budd Jr., who voted for the purchase.

In 2004, a timber company that owned Oaky Woods offered it for sale to the state. The state, however, decided it could not afford the asking price for the entire tract, despite an offer by the Nature Conservancy to bid $26 million for the property if the state agreed to buy it from the private environmental group later. It was sold instead for $32 million — about $1,600 an acre — to Oaky Woods Properties, which is owned by Charlie McGlamry, Charles Ayer, Scott Free and Art Williams Jr.

22 comments Add your comment

SpaceyG on Twitter

December 8th, 2010
11:56 am

Could you please state for the record, again, what, if any, role Governor Perdue plays in this latest for-profits, slight-of-hand maneuver? I slept through most of last week’s PI blog posts.

GeorgiaBoy

December 8th, 2010
12:03 pm

This whole thing stinks to high heaven!

Michael McEachin

December 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

We can’t pay our teachers for a full years work, State Troopers are baing rationed gas and we can’t even cut the grass on state road shoulders but we can afford to make these land speculators whole?

Douglas Corvey

December 8th, 2010
12:43 pm

Boy, those state turkeys are really shrewd businessmen! Haven’t they heard about the collapse of the real estate market? Offer the scum 14 million if they take it now! Otherwise let them keep the land and pay taxes on it until the real estate market turns around (sometime next decade).

Base

December 8th, 2010
12:51 pm

The taxpayers cannot afford to buy this property,let it be donated.Who is Sonny giving payback to!

tom mitchell

December 8th, 2010
1:11 pm

I will be so glad when Sonny Perdue and his white-trash cronies from Hicksville are gone from Atlanta.

Edward Beazley

December 8th, 2010
2:44 pm

I agree with you tom, I can’t wait till the lying Sonny goes home.

Hmmm .... I have some land for sale

December 8th, 2010
2:46 pm

There goes the Grinning Idiot again. I shold not call him an idiot though. Talking ’bout Sonny, I am ….. The idiots arethe ones screwing Georgians and buying this property at such an obviously inflated price. Who, other than the GI and the his friends (the owners of the property) thinks it is a good idea. As developers they took a gamble. They bought the property with visions of tons of money being made from their brilliance …… The market crashed and they were stuck holding the bag. They called their crooked friend (that be the GI) and had him twist the arms a few folks in ATL to buy the property so they could get all of their money back for just part of the property. And to get it done before the end of the year before the REAL crook was sworn in as the new GOV (aka known as “Shady”, “No Deal”, and soon as “JailBird”). THIS PROPERTY DEAL IS A RIP OFF AND NEEDS TO BE STOPPED. Maybe these folks need to look at what happened in Gwinnett County not long ago. One Call … That’s All …. to Danny for more info on Special Grand Juries ……

samIam

December 8th, 2010
2:46 pm

This land is so far out in the middle of nowhere that it will NEVER be developed.Like so many land deals that involve the state,there are some well connected people who will make out like bandits on this deal.It was a set-up from the time they bought it with a locked in profit.If it smells like bulls–t it’s probably bulls–t!

tom mitchell

December 8th, 2010
3:13 pm

I wonder which one of Perdue’s crooked pals did the appraisal for Oakey Woods that the State requires on all land purchases? A true professional appraiser is usually an “MAI” appraiser, but in this Oakey Woods deal MAI stands for “Made As Instructed”. Maybe an AJC reporter can shed some light on the details for us.

Chris Welton

December 8th, 2010
3:57 pm

This land needs to be protected. Of that there is no doubt. The Governor himself stopped the acquisition himself in 2004. DNR wanted to buy it, The Nature Conservancy was ready to finance it, and the Governor ordered the deal stopped so his cronies could buy it. Now that the market has fallen and these cronies can’t pay the note, the Governor steps in again to use our money to make their bad deal a good one and spend twice what it’s worth. By the way, Sonny’s buddies only paid $1100/acre, not $1600. Another lie. Buy the land, but these guys will take what they paid because they have to or they will be bankrupt.

Mike

December 8th, 2010
4:14 pm

We have had a crook for the past eight years and he is costing us until the bitter end.

John J Bryant

December 8th, 2010
4:21 pm

The conservative voters of this state, elected Sonny, and now Deal, buying land so the children of GA, can see the natural enviroment of the state is a joke, they ARE GOING TO RAPE THE LOTTERY, and CUT BACK ON EDUCATION, SO THAT Nathan can get his PAYOLA FOR HIS AMNESIA ABOUT TO PAY BACK THE $2million +, debt that he is in. WE SHOULD HAVE SOMEONE ON TOP OF THE CAPITOL, BEFORE THE GOLD DOME TURNS INTO A STAINLESS STEEL ONE, Any one who has POSSUM GRIN LIKE DEAL CANNOT BE TRUSTED, WELL AFTER PUPPY-DOG LOOKING SONNY, THE REAL DEAL WILL MAKE TRHE CITIZENS CRINGE IN FEAR. BUT, IT IS WHAT IT IS.

Gene J

December 8th, 2010
4:27 pm

Some run to serve the greater good, others run for office to use government and taxpayer’s money to the benefit of the “chosen few”. Perdue has very few days left to raid our treasure. You can be raped with your eyes wide open or shut. The choice is yours.

There is no reason to think Deal will be any different, is there(nor will he expose or investigte Perdue’s sweet deal making, sometimes reported upon by the AJC).

Mr Bill

December 8th, 2010
5:19 pm

The state evidently cannot afford to fund the state parks we currently have, and now they are spending funds on more property. Will they have to close more state parks to come up with the $28 million? And how much does Perdue have to do with this?

DES

December 8th, 2010
5:32 pm

Perdue is a damn crook and Deal is no better. But all you idiots who voted for these two fools get what you deserve. The only thing old Sonny has done is make himself rich at the taxpayers expense. And old No Deal is hoping to do the same to pay off his debts. The only thing that will change is Old Sonny will pass the vaseline to old Nathan so he can continue to screw us. Georgia deserves what it gets for electing these two crooks. The voters in Georgia are just plain stupid!!! I will be moving to Florida as soon as I can. I am tired of being screwed!!!!

DES

December 8th, 2010
5:36 pm

Oh and don’t forget his crooked dealings with the Georgia Ports Authority. I think the FBI should be called in. Wait and see how Perdue trucking gets all the contracts for the Ga Ports Authority hauling. Sonny will be gone and we will be left with a raw Deal!!!

TG

December 9th, 2010
9:19 am

Is Gov. Perdue a silent partner of Oakey Woods llc?

whatthehey

December 9th, 2010
3:52 pm

TG, to answer your question, 99.9% of business conducted here in Houston County is covertly, inappropriately connected. Just like a five-generation incestuous klan (and i do mean ‘k’ not ‘c’). Come to think of it, this might explain Sonny’s oddly shaped head and weird grin?

Nathan

December 9th, 2010
5:07 pm

This is corruption any way you look at it…is Oaky-Fenokey Woods the ONLY property in the state where the value of the land has increased??? BUY ALL THE LAND BUT NAME YOUR PRICE…EVERYONE associated with this deal needs to consider other employment for going along with this…i’m sure this money could be put to better use NOW, that land ain’t goin anywhere

Just Wondering

December 11th, 2010
11:53 am

Many of Georgia’s state parks are in financial crisis. Wouldn’t this money be better used to preserve what we already have?

TG

December 11th, 2010
6:43 pm

I am satisfied that this is nothing but a bailout for a deal gone sour.We are cutting back park services, laying off teachers and now we can spend 29 million on half the land(the swamp part)(Oakey Woods PropertiesLLC is retaing the land along the major roadways) that was originally bought for that amount. Also the state has leased the land from these investors for the last few years to pay the taxes for them, meantime they have been harvesting the timber. The state paid the $12 an acre which more than covered the tax of $11 an acre. This definitely should not be a sealed deal.
I also don’t understand why this land wasn’t purchased years ago when there was money in the coffers.