From swamp to wetlands to windfall

  • Follow Editorials

Regardless of how the case comes out, this week's indictment of a former powerful state senator's son-in-law was an important statement that no one is above the law.

And we are eager to see all the facts come out about a land deal that turned a $25,000 swamp into a taxpayer-bought $265,850 "wetlands" - and a $240,000 windfall for Donna and Ashby Krouse, daughter and son-in-law of former state Sen. Don Cheeks of Augusta.

Mr. Krouse, who also is facing potential action against his real estate appraiser's license, appears to have engineered the donation of the land near the Burke/Richmond County line from owner William Hatcher to the Hale House Foundation, an Augusta charity. The Krouses then bought the land from Hale House for $25,000 - and subsequently sold it to the state for $265,850 after Cheeks and his son-in-law met with a state Department of Transportation biologist.

There are so many questions yet unanswered.

Such as why Hale House never got the full benefit of the property that was donated to it - selling it to Krouse, an appraiser, for 10 percent of its apparent worth.

Such as why Krouse signed an affidavit declaring "no financial interest, either present or contemplated, in the opinion of value put on this property" - when it was reportedly his suggestion to Hatcher to donate it in the first place.

Such as how the valuation of the land by the government was appealed without Hatcher's permission.

And how the land became so much more valuable when in the hands of Cheeks' son-in-law.

The legality of it all is almost secondary to the ethics of it: A piece of land appears to have been laundered through a local charity and sold to the state at great profit by a relative of a then-member of the Senate Transportation and Appropriations committees.

At the very least, it appears Mr. Hatcher, Hale House Foundation and state taxpayers have been quite taken advantage of.

If this is not the case, we look forward to a very different story emerging from the courts.

Comments (14) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
robaroo
756
Points
robaroo 06/30/07 - 07:49 am
0
0
This is the kind of scandal

This is the kind of scandal that infuriates most taxpayers. Compared to the shenannigans of the City Council, this is much worse. If the GBI and presecutors can't put together a case on this one, then we need new officials. By the way, nobody is talking about a criminal investigation in to the appraisor who valued the land so much higher. Why not?

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 06/30/07 - 08:25 am
0
0
This is just a coincidence.

This is just a coincidence. Krouse accidently bought the land and luck did the rest. What's the problem? Everybody does it. Krouse can't help it if he has a "good luck" gene. The Cheeks connection is just a coincidence. Anyone that wants to hold these poor innocent people responcible for any apparent wrong doing is just jealous. : )

bone
23
Points
bone 06/30/07 - 09:20 am
0
0
pt, i can't tell if you are

pt, i can't tell if you are being serious or not. the evidence in this case clearly indicates that a public official (cheeks) and his son-in-law used state connections (dot scientists) to change the status of a recent land purpose for financial gain. coincidence? too many of those coincidences at one time for me to believe in a good luck gene.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 06/30/07 - 09:22 am
0
0
Too many coincidences in this

Too many coincidences in this case. There are more crooks involved in this case than Krouse. Cheek used his influence to attain this property for his son-in-law, the appraiser that lowered the value, and the person with the State Highway Dept that approved the purchase.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 06/30/07 - 09:42 am
0
0
don't underestimate the power

don't underestimate the power of genetics,bone.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 06/30/07 - 09:52 am
0
0
i give money and all of my

i give money and all of my old clothes to hale house which is a very good charity and helps by housing, feeding, and counseling
men that have bottomed out with alcohol. i would wager that if you could spray something on them and put them under a black light, every politician around here with the exception of deke would glow with residue from the kitty. charles walker had the prisoners of the state paying to use his prison phone system at the tune of 3 or 4 dollars a minute to call home. thats a great way to treat the lowest amongst us. a monopoly on trapped people. most have businesses that do mega business with the state but the businesses are not located in their district. they are hidden in the faraway districts of those they are in league with. those they vote with to protect the people and children and
social security and be tuff on crime.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 06/30/07 - 10:11 am
0
0
LaTwon, you write like you

LaTwon, you write like you believe power corrupts or is it just that those that are corrupt like power?

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 06/30/07 - 10:13 am
0
0
power is a means to an end.

power is a means to an end. greed corrupts. money money money money............................................money. some people got to have it. some people really need it.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 06/30/07 - 10:23 am
0
0
ahhhh, the philosophy of

ahhhh, the philosophy of music. Watch out for johnsmith, he'll quote the Offspring.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 06/30/07 - 10:24 am
0
0
i should not have said "give

i should not have said "give all of my old clothes". that sounds cheap, i should have said last seasons fashion.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 06/30/07 - 10:30 am
0
0
again pt, i am on to you. lol

again pt, i am on to you. lol

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/30/07 - 10:34 am
0
0
Sam Sibley and Mackey

Sam Sibley and Mackey Mulherin, founders of Hale House, spent much of their time before their deaths helping alcoholics. It is a shame that anyone would take advantage of their creation by scamming them out of close to one quarter million dollars. I reserve my opinion on the guilt of Krouse et al until after the jury trial, however. I know his parents and my heart goes out to them.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 06/30/07 - 10:37 am
0
0
LaTwon, are you the only one

LaTwon, are you the only one that's posted under your display name? Your wit is so not p.c. .

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 06/30/07 - 07:18 pm
0
0
I don't always quote the

I don't always quote the Offspring :)

Back to Top

Top headlines

Vogtle workers see both reactor projects

Some veterans of the nuclear industry were at the site south of Augusta to see the complex network of rebar and concrete rising out of the ground in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, they are back.
Search Augusta jobs