“The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” – William Shakespeare
Interesting words to ponder which exemplify the share of history that will be bestowed upon every Fargo Dam and FM Diversion member etal; Y’know, those morally corrupt proponents that jockey for kleptocracy as though their role in history will be favorable.
These ARE NOT decent people. They arbitrarily pick and choose who will benefit and who will be burdened and systematically ignore those that have no seat at the table while glad handing Sen. John Hoeven and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp who have carried the water for the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project.
So where is the corruption? It exists between the laws and the loophole; an area that project proponents routinely seek when faced with opposition.
Take the North Dakota State Water Commission as an example. Rather than following the rules set forth by state legislature, they bowed to the political will of Imperial Fargo – Imperial Cass and granted an incremental permit for the inlet structure with the rationale that it won’t hold water back until the gates are dropped in?
Need another example? Oxbow, ND – the epic boondoggle that showcases wealthy welfare at it most deplorable.
Take the financially ailing Oxbow Country Club (filed as a non-profit), which was purported by Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof to be nearly $600,000 in debt (read more…) and hand them a check for $10.5 million on a property that was valued at a little over $1 million by Cass County board of equalization.
To further the Oxbow debacle, Oxbow’s elite argued that the golf course is the community and the FMDA (Fargo Dam and FM Diversion Authority) shelled out a negotiated land price around $25,000 per acre which provided Oxbow’s elite an opportunity to manipulate the entire process into average home buyouts topping 360 percent on the taxpayer dime.
So what’s the big deal…, right? They are being made whole.
Isn’t that the point…, to be made whole?
So then why didn’t the FMDA or CCJWRD (Cass County Joint Water Resource District) approach the land owners in the area of the inlet structure with the same offer of being made whole? A farm is certainly a more viable business than a golf course.
According to Forbes:
“U.S. golf courses and country clubs,
on average, face persistent unprofitability.”
According to Bloomberg:
“More than 800 golf courses have closed over a decade.
Now clubhouses are going up in flames.”
Reassurances of being made whole by the FMDA are dubious at best. The CCJWRD sent letters, in early 2016, alerting land owners that an appraiser would be inspecting their properties, which was followed by a letter containing final offers nearly $20,000 less per acre than was paid at Oxbow, ND for “ag land”.
Consider this excerpt from a July 23, 2015 article quoting Mark Brodshaug, CCJWRD:
“Brodshaug said the water resource district’s goal is to pay owners what their homes are worth. “We don’t want to pay any more than necessary,” he said. “But we have a duty to the property owner.”
A “duty” to the property owner… -?-
No phone call, no knock at the door, no cup of coffee…
Had the CCJWRD offered $25,000 per acre and had the landowners turned them down, then eminent domain would have been the next step.
However, Imperial Cass/Imperial Fargo rushed to extort landowners by brutal acquisition. The initial “take it or leave it” ultimatum or the project sponsor will resort to eminent domain to obtain the land.
Even East Central District Judge John Irby ruled against the CCJWRD district citing that it failed to meet several requirements for the so-called quick take acquisition.
So where is the consideration for making the farm businesses and ag-land owners whole?
How is “duty” to the property owner being met when the CCJWRD/FMDA instructed the appraiser to ignore other parcels purchased by the CCJWRD?
You have the USACE blowing sunshine up Fargo and the public’s hind-end with claims that its a federal project and they are exempt from permits, yet recent documents filed in United State District Court, MN indicate the USACE conceded that MN DNR permits are required for construction and operation of the project. Even the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recognized the issues in 2016 citing:
“if North Dakota were permitted to begin building the diversion project in North Dakota, and could only be stopped once it reached the Minnesota border, the practical effect would be that for interstate projects, the state with more lenient laws would always control.”
There is no “federal project”. This is a local project encumbered by states rights issue, wherein, Fargo, ND wants to push its water problems onto Minnesota and MN said “NO”.
Remember, the USACE/FMDA stated the Oxbow project would cost $65 million, which has already blown past $92.5 million and could easily burn through another $50 million…, for a gold course that was $600,000 in debt.
What really grates the senses is the temerity, amoral corruptions and greed that are openly embraced by the USACE, in an attempt to besmirch landowners in the path of the project by weighting the balance of the faulty proposed project against the concept of being made whole.
|Listen: April 21, 2017 Audio Clip – Terry Williams, USACE|
|Terry Williams, USACE:||“The federal government hasn’t paid and won’t pay money for land acquisition, that’s the non-federal sponsors responsibility, but with respect to the project there…, are almost 7,000 parcels… 7,000 acres required to be purchased for the project in fee. If you were to pay $20,000 an acre versus the actual land value determined by appraisal or the court system you would render the project not feasible…, you have to go fair market value…”|
|Joel Heitkamp, 790 KFGO:||“..but guys, that was a precedent set by the local sponsor meaning the FM diversion authority. That was, that was a precent that they set, not you, I get that, it, it, your saying, well they can go up to this much, but appraised, but if they go over, that’s their business. I. i’m hearing what your saying, what i’m saying is they set a precedent, now you gotta go out and acquire 7,000 acres and they’re already told the average farmer out their what they think an acre of land is worth.”|
So Terry, are you suggesting that exploiting land owners is justified for the sake of maintaining project feasibility? Y’know, that project that you’ve been touting for Fargo where costs were intentionally understated on the front end and benefits were grossly overstated?
The USACE and FMDA lied to congress, claiming a cost benefit ratio of nearly [ 2.42 ], yet under independent review by the Minnesota DNR, the cost benefit ratio barely reaches [ 0.50 ]…, or in layman’s terms, taxpayers will actually only get 50 cents of benefit for every dollar invested in Fargo’s development project disguised as flood control.
How very UN-American…, for that American taxpayer funded paycheck you expect to receive on time, it appears that any opponent is fair game.