ATLANTA - The value of land Gov. Sonny Perdue purchased in Florida from a wealthy Republican developer has more than tripled in the past year.
The 20 acres that Mr. Perdue purchased near Disney World was appraised at $185,700 in 2006. That amount rose to $642,800 in 2007, according to Osceola County, Fla., property records.
That's still far less than the $2 million Mr. Perdue paid for the property, but it shows the potential growth for the undeveloped land, which is adjacent to a toll road 6 miles from Disney World.
Mr. Perdue faced questions over the out-of-state land purchase during his 2006 re-election bid against then-Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor. Democrats filed an ethics complaint alleging that he had underestimated the value of the land on his financial disclosure form to make his net worth appear lower. Mr. Perdue listed his net worth at $6 million.
A spokesman for Mr. Perdue said Friday that the governor had made no improvements to warrant a jump in value.
"Any increase you see is just the property value going up on its own," Bert Brantley said.
In December 2004, Mr. Perdue bought the Florida land from a company owned by Stanley Thomas, a Georgia developer. Mr. Perdue had appointed Mr. Thomas to the state Board of Economic Development about a year before he bought the land.
About a year after the purchase, one of Mr. Thomas' companies, Fourth Quarter Properties, donated $250,000 to the state Republican Party.
Mr. Perdue bought the property, which borders the luxury Reunion Resort, without ever seeing it.
The governor has said there is nothing improper about the deal. He called Mr. Thomas a friend who helped him find land to invest in after he sold inherited family land in middle Georgia. Mr. Perdue said he bought land out-of-state to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
But the purchase led to more allegations of wrongdoing last year, when it was revealed that in April 2005 Mr. Perdue signed a tax package into law that allowed him to avoid paying $100,000 in taxes on the sale of the family land.
Mr. Perdue also saw the value of farmland he owns in Georgia soar. The 8.18 acres he owns on Oglethorpe Road in his hometown of Bonaire more than doubled, jumping from $166,800 in 2006 to $339,900 in 2007, according to Houston County records.