Huge Surprise! LCPS Picks Another Bad Site Owned By A Connected Developer!

By Loudoun Insider

When will this comedy of errors end?  The Loudoun County School Board voted 8-1 last night to agree to purchase 170 acres, primarily from developer Sal Cangiano for the next western Loudoun High School (Living in LoCo report here).  This property is of course very close to Purcellville, where apparently every western high school must be located.  Take a look at a map of the vastness of western Loudoun County and then tell me if it makes sense to put three high schools all within five miles of each other.  Of course it doesn’t make sense, but that is what they’re proposing.  Bob Ohneiser, who I am hot and cold on (as opposed to generally cold on the rest of them) was the only no vote.

In keeping with established LCPS tradition, this property is proposed to be purchased for well above assessed value, and for much more than the developer paid for it just a few years ago.  While land prices continue to fall, only LCPS seems to want to keep paying inflated prices for land.  Land investors known as vultures are picking up developer land for as little as 25 cents on the dollar right now, yet the taxpayers are going to be expected to shell out above market rates for this site.  This is what their secretive process has given us once again – a bad deal with a connected seller. 

By the way, the School Board’s attorney for land deals until recently represented Cangiano.  Does this contract have the extra special clause that first appeared (I believe) in the Greenvest Lenah contract – that the county is obligated to lobby for this site and not look for alternatives?  And this is what their new supposedly better and more open process is giving us?  No wonder so many do not trust the School Board on land deals.  I’ll be extremely disappointed if the supervisors go along with this one, but luckily they have proven to be very tough with the inept School Board on these matters.


Comments

  • BPM, who gives a shit whether it drives me crazy or not? If it’s another hare-brained site in the middle of nowhere it will drive a lot of people crazy. Who says they’re “worth” that? You? The assessor? The only price that matters is what someone is willing to pay for it. At this point the only people willing to pay that kind of money is the idiotic School Board (just like the inflated offer for Lenah). Glad to see you’re on Team Cangiano – keep pushing this deal.

  • Anon says:

    Who says taxpayers are willing to float 170 freakin acres for schools – that is WAY too big. Is there any other complex that large? Co-located Heritage, Simpson and Evergreen Mill together are only 100 acres. LCPS keeps raising the ante folks and don’t seem to have a clue that WE CAN’T AFFORD their caviar dreams.

  • Anon says:

    In the latest edition of the Purcellville Gazette, a group of Middleburg residents took candid offense at Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent, Edgar Hatrick. The 16 signatories demanded his removal for categorizing those who objected to his declarations and orders as fire bombers. Hatrick has a history of high and mighty, secretive, tight fisted and ogre management of our tax dollars. Hatrick is known to take care of those who support him, but blot out those who don’t. The kool-aid at LCPS and the School Board must be strong indeed, given the recent assimilation of Jennifer Burgel to the Board, who has abandoned those who put her in the job. Well, I heartily second the call for Hatrick’s removal from office. Specifically, Hatrick has shown even more contempt for public and some County employees’ common sense, and even the County’s own Comprehensive Plan. Not once, but twice he is wastefully spending taxpayer dollars to put schools in the rural, agricultural community of Wheatland, between Lovettsville and Purcellville. It seems that Hatrick and his sidekick head of planning Sam Adamo’s pigheadedness didn’t learn from their first defeat by the Wheatland Alliance after spending close to $1 million to put a middle school on the Grubb property. This time, Hatrick and Adamo have enlisted an even more notorious ally in Salvatore Cangiano who has become an expert at purchasing land, developing it to the point of greatest value and then selling it to local governments to rip off the public at significant profit. You would think that after licking their wounds, Hatrick and Adamo would learn to work more and more openly with the public and do their homework instead of making the same mistakes. In fact, their school site selection process, if you want to call it that, has actually gotten more secretive and less publicly accessible since the Grubb incident. The public is getting pretty fed up with Hatrick treating this County like his kingdom. I think we will be hearing from a lot more people and organizations that will help Hatrick find his way out of public office, hopefully sooner, rather than later.

  • Sarah says:

    and BPM now you’ve become an appraiser? I have had several people email me comps in the last 10 days. Land in the 20132 and 20180 zip codes has not SOLD for $67k/acre so go ahead and try to stir that pot. Unless Mr. Cangiano wants to buy it and flip it to the County, LCPS won’t even look objectively at those sites. In fact I bet the machine is already working to sabotage every other remotely possible site – just like they did with Lenah. We need an open process or we’ll NEVER know! Let me remind everyone who don’t want to look up through the hundred posts – the Director of Real Estate Services for the Commonwealth uses RFPs to be State land and says very short response times can exclude parties. All this buzz and sites start coming out, so why not have a formal process that starts the buzz, brings out all these sites and more and THEN negotiate a contract? Because it makes it harder to justify gifts to flipping developers that want to take the taxpayers for yet another ride.

  • Hazel says:

    This is crazy that the county thinks residents are going to accept the building of three schools in the heart of a farming jewel, as county officials refer to Wheatland. Where will Hatrick be when, after one of the not so uncommon drought seasons, school kids come back to school and have NO WATER?! Farmers have to use groundwater to irrigate and they use it all summer and into fall.
    County residents – wake up! Fight this insanity. Our federal government is pledging transparency, and our county is making costly decisions in secret meetings while pretending to be interested in our opinions. If you aren’t outraged, you are not paying attention!

  • Sarah says:

    pretty caustic post Anon! We have a first rate system – many agree with that and Dr H gets a piece of the credit. However as my dear husband chides me when I choose something pricey for my convenience, “anyone can do a great job with enough money, it takes real skill to do a great job on a tight budget”.

  • sally says:

    List of stimulus money requests, includes Woodgove, Culbert and Tuscarora:

    http://www.stimulus.virginia.gov/report.aspx

    Any citizen can make a proposal for stimulus money, by March 6 at recovery.gov clicking on the state of Virginia.

  • Hillsboro says:

    Thanks for the stimulus money request link, Sally! I love the Edgar Hatrick Global Travel Fund request!!!

  • sally says:

    What happens if Loudoun does get stimulus money to build some of the schools it has put in for… does anyone know if they can use the bond money for other projects?

    For this site, will there have to be a bond referendum?

    Sarah, or someone in the know, can you explain how they plan to pay for this acquisition on 287? Thanks.

  • Anon says:

    bond for this and other land got passed already in 2007 elections so like everything else, we get to borrow the money.

  • sally says:

    Thanks. Did not realize the money for this acquisition was already voted on for bonding. How much was the total we voted to allow them to borrow?

  • This post will soon be kicked off the front page. Keep posting info or send me an email at loudouninsider@gmail.com with more info. I’ll be doing another post soon. I can’t believe these buffoons!

  • Anon says:

    They won’t say how much they allocate for each school project. They group several acquisitions in a single bond referendum to keep sellers from trying to take advantage and inflate their prices. LOL!! Boy did that strategy blow up in their faces with Lenah and Cangiano! They might as well come clean with the public because all this secrecy isn’t working out too well for them.

  • Some figures I’ve seen on this deal show that it is at least 20% inflated over not so recent sales (of course things have only gotten worse since then). Is this part of the bogus “buyer’s premium” that the county added on to the Rouse deal just because it was a sale to a government entity? This is complete bullshit – does anyone have any respect for the School Board on land maters (or any others) anymore?.

  • sally says:

    Anon and LI,

    Anon is telling me I am wrong, but I thought the only money on the ballot last fall was for schools identified not in Blue Ridge. Does anyone know exactly what was on the ballot, and what the amount was?

  • sally says:

    Anon and LI,

    The bond referendum from last election only included schools in Ashburn and Dulles, no schools in Blue Ridge:

    https://www.voterinfo.sbe.virginia.gov/election/DATA/2008/07261AFC-9ED3-410F-B07D-84D014AB2C6B/Official/00_107_s.shtml

    So how is this land to be paid for?

  • Anon says:

    sally – the referendum passed in 2007, not last year

  • Anon says:

    would have to dig a little deeper to find bond referendum that had MS-10 and ES-25 money but HS-10 land was in the 2007 School Bond Referendum…well it doesn’t actually say HS-10 but many refer to this bond being earmarked for the land for the 3rd western HS:

    Shall the County of Loudoun, Virginia contract a debt and issue its general obligation capital improvement bonds in the maximum amount of $15,475,000 to finance, in whole or in part, the cost to purchase land for two Elementary Schools and one High School?

  • I point out that I’m not an appraiser. That’s what those pieces will cost anyone to secure. Or they’ll hold onto them until things bounce back. Sal’s in a position to wait…unlike Greenvest.
    I’m not on Sal’s team. I’m also not so bitter with the man that I lose all of my objectivity in such matters.

  • Anonymous says:

    You’re crazy if you think most people are willing to give anyone a $2.5M profit for flipping land in less than 2 years when EVERYONE else in this market is losing their principle investment. This deal is dead and considering the sordid history of this and other acquisition efforts, some people deserve to lose their jobs or worse, go to jail.

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