Letter: Wasden Land Board

May 16, 2014 

In 2010, the State Land Board of Commissioners made the wise decision to get the Endowment Trust out of the underperforming residential leasing business at both Priest and Payette lakes and transfer those assets into higher performing assets, including timberland (with a 6-8% return).

However, even before the ink dried on the Cottage Site Plan (a reasoned approach for “disposing” of the cottage sites through land exchanges and public auctions), Wasden filed a lawsuit against his own client, the State Land Board of Commissioners, and declared a personal war against 500 cottage site lessees at both lakes. While the Endowment could have been earning an additional $6.4 million per year for the last three years by holding assets in timberland, Wasden has done everything possible to stall the Cottage Site Plan. While the AG has put his energy into suing the Land Board in order to re-institute conflict auctions, now we know, two years later, his efforts have been a colossal failure. Costing the State hundreds of thousands in legal fees, Wasden’s grand scheme generated only two conflict auctions in 2013 and not one -- as in zero, nada, zilch -- in 2014. Idaho voters should also credit Wasden with his misguided ventures into commercial real estate, orchestrating the failure of three land exchanges and overseeing two fatally-flawed appraisals of 354 lots at Priest. By denying Idaho’s school students an additional $18 million in funding over the last three years, Wasden’s actions have been in direct conflict with his fiduciary responsibility to generate the maximum return to the Endowment. Kaari Burrows Davies, Kellogg and Priest Lake.

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