Property Rights Foundation of America®

Carol W. LaGrasse from Positions on Property, Vol. 2, No. 2, Apr. 1995.

The Scathing Audit Conclusions that Dead-Ended

U.S. Department of Interior Inspector General
Audit of Land Acquisition Using "Non-Profits"

"Overall, we concluded that nonprofit organizations provided beneficial assistance in acquiring land that was identified as a priority acquisition by the Department of the Interior or the Congress. However, we also concluded that the Government's interests were not always adequately protected and that nonprofit organizations benefited unduly from some of the land acquisition transactions."

"...We believe that the Department has little assurance that the fair market value estimates used by its bureaus in establishing the prices paid were complete and accurate."

"The Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks generally disagreed with our findings and stated that 'an analysis' shows that the Department has actually saved over $32 million as a result of its relationship with the nonprofit organizations. We were unable to substantiate the reported 'savings' because the data provided in the response differed substantially from the data we obtained from the bureaus during the audit. In addition, these savings did not consider the tax consequences (revenue losses to the U.S. Treasury) attributable to owner's selling property to the nonprofit organizations at less than fair market value, including donated property. Furthermore, we do not believe that these savings should be used to justify the Government's paying of hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the approved value for other properties or the nonprofit organizations' making substantial gains on the transactions. Each transaction is unique and must be able to withstand public and Congressional scrutiny."

- from Memorandum to Final Audit Joyce N. Hirschman, for James R. Richards, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior, June 3, 1992 (emphasis added)

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