At the urging of State Auditor Adam Edelen, the Bluegrass Area Development District now owns the offices it has occupied for the past two decades.
The district recently closed on the sale of the building at 699 Perimeter Drive from one of its related entities. The sale price was $300,000, just a little less than the yearly rent the district has paid over the years.
The building, which has an assessed value of $2.2 million, was owned by the Bluegrass Industrial Foundation, a non-profit run by the Bluegrass ADD's former executive director, Jas Sekhon.
Edelen issued a scathing report after conducting an investigation of the Bluegrass ADD earlier this year, and he strongly urged the building's sale. He questioned the relationship between the two groups and said taxpayers were being fleeced by the lease agreement.
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"This is a good day for us," said David Duttlinger, executive director of the Bluegrass ADD. "We're grateful to the auditor for pushing this issue. Taking ownership of this building is the most visible sign of reform since we received his report."
Luke Morgan, an attorney for the foundation, said it would continue to support the district with economic development work.
"It won't be in the property-management business, but it will continue to try to bring high-paying jobs to the Bluegrass," he said.
The Bluegrass ADD will pay the $300,000 out of $750,000 it received for the sale of property on Trent Boulevard to Episcopal Retirement Homes in Cincinnati.
More than two years ago, neighbors in the River Park Neighborhood Association called Edelen's office with concerns about a nebulous plan by Bluegrass ADD to turn the Trent property into a felon re-entry program. That controversy ended with the forced resignation of former Bluegrass ADD executive director Lenny Stoltz, who had taken over the job from Sekhon.