The state has launched a review of an oversight board’s decision to sell 2,450 acres of ranch land to the City of Industry for $60 million less than the appraised value, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
California Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said the review was initiated, in part, because the board’s resolution approving the sale included a clause requiring the Department of Finance to sign off on the deal.
“This is not a normal course of business,” Palmer said.
Becky Warren, Industry’s spokeswoman, declined to comment on the state’s review.
The former Tres Hermanos ranch is 2,450 acres of rolling hills situated within the cities of Diamond Bar and Chino Hills, near the intersection of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties at the 57 and 60 freeways.
The state forced Industry’s redevelopment agency to put the land up for sale as part of the dissolution of redevelopment agencies statewide in 2012.
Industry initially offered to pay up $100 million to keep Tres Hermanos. After months of delays, a state-mandated oversight board, in a split decision, voted to sell the land for $41.6 million in exchange for a covenant that would limit the use of the land to public facilities and open space in perpetuity. Two appointees of Los Angeles Supervisor Hilda Solis cast the deciding votes, along with Industry’s two representatives, in the 4-3 decision.
The Department of Finance’s review examines whether the sale of the property follows state law and is line with a 2014 plan for disposing of the city’s redevelopment assets, Palmer said. The Long Range Property Management Plan governing the sale values Tres Hermanos between $85.7 million to $122.5 million, according to the document.
State law requires the land to be sold “expeditiously and in a manner aimed at maximizing value.” Officials in neighboring Diamond Bar and Chino Hills have said the sale does not maximize the value and shortchanges the taxing agencies that would benefit from the proceeds.
The state finance department’s redevelopment experts have 40 days to examine the sale, but the process is not expected to take that long, Palmer said.
Immediately after the oversight board’s vote, the city managers of Diamond Bar and Chino Hills wrote letters urging the Department of Finance to reject the deal, saying the price amounts to a gift of public…