Former Ag Secretary Perdue 2017 Real Estate Transaction Drawing Attention

A report from the Washington Post questions a real estate transaction made by Sonny Perdue just after his selection to be Agriculture Secretary in 2017. The Washington Post reports Purdue’s now-former company bought a small grain facility in South Carolina for $250,000, while ADM purchased the facility six years prior for $5.5 million. However, the county the facility is located in appraised the property at $530,000 in 2018.

An ADM spokesperson told the Post, “This was nothing more than a business decision to sell a significantly underperforming asset.” Both a representative of Perdue’s former company and ADM confirmed the negotiations for the transaction started in 2015, when ADM originally asked for $4 million for the property.

“This stinks to high heaven,” Julie O’Sullivan, a Georgetown University law professor and former federal prosecutor told the Post. “It deserves a prosecutor’s attention,” she added. “Only a prosecutor with the powers of the grand jury can find out, in fact, whether there was a quid pro quo that existed at the time of the deal.”

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow called the findings distributing. Responding to the report, she states, “I’ve already called on the Office of Government Ethics to review this situation, and believe that they should expedite their efforts.”

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