Report: Land deals helped make Perry rich

Aug. 29, 2011 at 6:12 PM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Critics say Texas Gov. Rick Perry has become a millionaire while in office largely through a handful of real estate deals owing to political connections.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the Republican presidential candidate's bank account belies his continual emphasis on his roots as a rural farmer.

Among the land transactions, the Star-Telegram reported:

-- Perry purchased about 29 acres of raw land near Lake Travis in 1991 for $55,288 through a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. liquidation auction and sold it three years later for $125,000, tax records show. He has said he bought properties in Travis County in the 1990s in hopes of building a home but his wife deemed them too remote.

-- Texas Democrats have long criticized the sale of 10 acres of undeveloped land Perry bought in 1993, then sold to computer executive Michael Dell, who needed the land to connect his home to municipal sewer lines, records show. Dell paid Perry $465,000, more than triple what Perry had bought it for two years earlier. Critics pointed out Mike Toomey, a lobbyist and later Perry's chief of staff, closed the deal while Perry was out of town, and Perry has said he was unaware the land would be so valuable to Dell.

-- In 2001, the Star-Telegram said, Perry bought land in the resort community of Horseshoe Bay from state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, for $314,770 and sold it six years later for $1.1 million. Critics, including a watchdog group, noted the man Fraser had bought the land from and the man Perry sold it to were business partners.

"We bought a piece of property, the property appreciated and we sold it," Perry said of the deal last year.

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