• 63°

Realtor says PCI had eyes on land

By By Robbie Byrd, News Editor
While city and state officials praised the deal reached between the Department of Corrections and the City of Atmore, some felt the deal was handled poorly.
Ann Gordon, owner of Atmore Realty, said she had been representing the Poarch Creek Tribe to purchase the land from the DOC, beginning negotiations in early 2001.
According to published reports, the tribe had offered $1.1 million for 400 acres of the land. The city will pay $2.66 million for 410 acres of the land.
Tribal Chairman Eddie Tullis said he as shocked when he was advised of the city's deal with the DOC.
Gordon said that her understanding with DOC officials was that if another offer was made on the land, her agency would be contacted so that a counter bid could be made. Gordon said that never happened.
Gordon said she first made an offer anonymously on behalf of the tribe in Feb. 2001. She said she had contacted the DOC prior to making the offer and had been told that the DOC was considering the offer.
Gordon stated in a Feb. letter to Farquhar that she was "working as a buyers agent for a governmental entity that is interested into entering negotiations" for the land.
Gordon said the official asks if she was working with the county, to which she said no.
While Gordon was unsure what the tribe had in store for the land, she said that the tribe signed a real estate purchase agreement on Feb. 28, 2001 hoping to quickly secure the land.
Gordon said that the DOC would never provide her with an appraisal of the land, stating that several times she had been told that the land was in the process of being appraised.
When officials finally confirmed that an appraisal had been completed, Gordon said that they were hesitant in responding to her requests.
She said that in a Jan. 21, 2002 she asked the DOC release information about the appraisal and to continue to consider the tribe's offer for the land.
In subsequent conversations, others in the DOC office told her the land was no longer for sale.
Gordon said that she was not upset that the city purchased the land, only that she felt the tribe's use of the land could have been more profitable for the area.
Gordon said that she is hopeful that the city's purchase of the land will bring jobs to the area, however.
She believes that the land sale was a political more for the state and the city.
Robbie Byrd is news editor for The Advance. He can be reached by calling the 24-hour newsroom at 368-6424 or by emailing robbie.byrd@atmoreadvance.com