Wall must explain his misleading statements about GTH land scandal: Broten

Brad Wall personally signed the order to pay more than triple the appraised value of a piece of land near the Global Transportation Hub (GTH), and with Wall’s statements since that scandal now proved untrue, NDP Leader Cam Broten said it’s time for Wall to come clean.

“Mr. Wall told Saskatchewan people that he was completely satisfied with this deal, but every emerging detail makes the stench around this scandal so much worse,” said Broten. “He blew millions in taxpayer money on this sketchy deal, and now that a slow leak of truth is coming out, he’s hiding and so is his high-flying GTH Minister, Bill Boyd. 

“Mr. Wall: Saskatchewan people deserve the truth. Stop hiding.”

On Friday, CBC’s iTeam reported that the appraiser who determined the 204-acre’s $30,000-to-$35,000 value was shocked to learn the land was bought by the Sask. Party government for $103,000 per acre. With 30 years experience, appraiser Peter Lawrek says the price Wall paid to the owners of one plot of land makes no sense.

“The appraiser says this sketchy deal doesn’t make sense. Residents of the rural municipality of Sherwood say Wall’s big spend makes no sense. The previous owners of the land were once even threatened with expropriation when it was their property – and they’ve said it makes no sense that the businessmen who bought their land quickly flipped it for millions.

“Mr. Wall owes all of us an explanation for why he paid millions extra using our tax dollars. He needs to explain why these two Regina businessmen got such a special deal.”

One Alberta businessman that made millions in the deal was reportedly renting at least 2,240 acres of farmland to Boyd through his family’s business. That company donated to Boyd's election campaign, as well as to the Sask. Party. 

“If there is any criminal wrongdoing here, taxpayers deserve justice,” said Broten.

The NDP caucus wrote to the RCMP on hearing about the troubling deal. A criminal breach of public trust is an offence in which a public official, intentionally or through willful neglect, uses their office for a purpose other than for the public good, including dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent purposes.

The 204 acres of land in question were purchased for a highway interchange which hasn’t been built yet. Typically, the Ministry of Highways expropriates land needed for highways, or buys it for near its appraised value. But in this case, Wall signed an order directing the GTH to buy the land for far more than its appraised value, and then sell it to the Ministry of Highways at a loss.

Broten has demanded a judicial inquiry. That call has also been made by residents of the rural municipality of Sherwood, who reportedly are frustrated that they were treated very differently by the Sask. Party than the recipients of the special deal.