County Board needs real estate pro to sell lodge

After two different offers to purchase the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge have failed following the County Board’s acceptance of an offer, its time for the commissioners to concede the real estate business is not their forte.

It would be in the best interests of Keweenaw County taxpayers if commissioners would turn the sale over to a licensed real estate professional, because not only will a qualified broker perform due diligence and all the other legwork involved but also could get the best price, which might generate a small bit of revenue back to the taxpayers.

It must be clear to anyone who has paid minimal attention to this saga that the board rushed into accepting the previous offers without doing due diligence in checking out the backgrounds and financial bona fides of the prospective purchasers.

This is one of the reasons why the commissioners are refusing to explain why the second deal with Adoba fell through. The County Board is a public body funded by Keweenaw County taxpayers, so the board’s refusal to go on record with an explanation, after it had no problem going on record in accepting the purchase offer, is inappropriate and unjustified, as well as a disservice to its taxpayers.

Even a minimal background check into public records would have revealed red flags in these offers, yet the board was unanimous in quickly accepting both.

While it’s understandable why the board is in such a rush to sell the lodge operation lock, stock and barrel — to get out of the county’s debt to the feds — rushing to accept what amounts to a verbal offer from complete strangers is irresponsible to the owners of the operation.

The board should, first, go on record with the public and explain in detail why the second deal fell through and, second, commission a real estate broker take over the sale, with the fees to be paid as a percentage of the sale price. It’s hard to imagine Rural Development would oppose having a licensed professional do the deal.

The board needs to slow its roll on the sale of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge — the best deal is not necessarily the quickest one, and if that means continuing to operate the property next year, then so be it.