BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The same developer who recently got a sweet real estate deal from the city-parish also got a deal in 2013, buying land for $200,000 less than one appraisal showed it was worth.
The 9News Investigators examined public records related to two land purchases developer, Radu Cosman, entered into with East Baton Rouge Parish.
In 2013, Cosman approached the city-parish, asking to buy a 22,000 square foot piece of land in Inniswold Estates, fronting Bluebonnet Blvd.
Cosman presented an appraisal he had paid for. It showed the land had an appraised value of $42,000. The city-parish then paid for its own appraisal, which came back with an estimated value of $255,000.
Because of the wide discrepancies between the two appraisals, the city-parish decided to put the land up for public auction, rather than directly sell the land to Cosman, according to William Aaron of the parish attorney's office.
Records show Cosman got the land for $50,000, beating out the only other bidder, David Bowman. Bowman offered $26,000 for the property.
Cosman's most recent land transaction with the city-parish involved a 50,000 square foot vacant lot at the corner of Bluebonnet Blvd. and Jefferson Hwy. He paid for the property earlier this year.
Like he did in 2013, Cosman also approached the city-parish about purchasing that piece of land. However, the city-parish did not have the land appraised in the most recent deal, but instead sent it straight to public auction. Cosman was the lone bidder, paying just $10,000 for the land. Many were outraged when learning of that land deal, saying the land is worth much more.
In response, the parish attorney's office said this week it would no longer conduct property sales without first getting an appraisal. Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera launched an investigation into the city-parish's handling of surplus-property land sales.
Public records checked Wednesday show Cosman is still the owner of both lots.