Jochim: ADOT’s stewardship faulted - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

Jochim: ADOT’s stewardship faulted

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:45 am | Updated: 4:37 pm, Thu May 15, 2014.

Like the old saying goes, “timing is everything,” and unfortunately here is a vivid example that impacts all of us who live in Arizona. This deals with ADOT and their lack of stewardship on the monies earmarked for the proposed SMF on Pecos Road.

An investor purchased four lots (numbers 27, 29, 57 and 58) from Calabera Development, LLC in August of 2004 for $769,000 and resold them to ADOT in April of 2006 (some 20 months later) for $1,953,900.00 — now that is a gain of $1,184,900 or 154 percent in less than two years.

Now that equates to a profit in excess of $50,000 per month! As a frame of reference the S&P 500 went up 9 percent in 2004, up 3 percent in 2005 and 13.6 percent in 2006. (Source: USA Today January, 2014.)

Here is another fact: The median household income was $46,329 in 2005. (Data source: CNN Money August, 2006.)

This investor made more money in a single month than the median households did for an entire year! Truly this investor was in the right place and time for his buy, hold and sell decisions were spot-on-the-money — one for the textbooks!

On the other hand, to ADOT I say a big “thumbs down” for allowing this transaction to happen. Shame on your stewardship. Who is watching out for us taxpayers? The proposed South Mountain Freeway Loop 202 has been in the “planning” mode for decades. This is truly amateur-hour at ADOT. Surely someone in their Right of Way department was aware that Calabera Development had purchased this parcel of land — which is at a critical juncture were the proposed freeway changes directions from going due west and starts to turn in a northern direction to connect with the I-10 at 59th Avenue.

They also had another golden opportunity when the raw land was subdivided and labeled Foothills 80. Why wasn’t it purchased then? They even had another chance to purchase these four lots when they were listed for sale by the developer before any individuals purchased them.

Why the lack of action? Where is their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers?

A copy of this article is being sent to Mr. Timothy Tait, assistant communications director for ADOT. Mr. Tait was a key ADOT representative on the SMCAT (South Mountain Citizens Advisory Team) when it was functioning and he currently is the spokesperson for the proposed Loop 202.

It is my expectation Tim Tait will respond to this article and explain ADOT’s rationale behind their decision-making process relative to the timing and purchase of these four lots at Calabera.

• Jim Jochim has lived in the Foothills for over 18 years, has a MBA from ASU, a Real Estate License, retired from AT&T and is the Treasurer of PARC—Protecting Arizona Resources and Children (www.protectazchildren.org).

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