Clerical Error Could Cost Fresno County Taxpayers $500,000

A clerical error could cost Fresno County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the sale of a disputed piece of property contaminated with hazardous materials, The Fresno Bee reports.

The county sold a 14-acre property during a routine transaction of property with delinquent tax bills for $460,000 in 2014 to a private firm that was going to use the land for a warehouse to store building supplies and equipment. The problem: The county did not include a disclosure that the property was contaminated.

After purchasing the land, the new owners discovered it was contaminated. The cost to clean up the land was estimated to be more than $500,000.

The new property owners sued the county for not disclosing that the land was contaminated, and the county admitted it made a mistake. A Fresno Superior Court judge sided with the county, but the Fifth District Court of Appeal disagreed, and returned the case to the Superior Court.

This week, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted to have the county and property owners get together to try to come to a settlement agreement. Both sides agreed to negotiate, and an attorney representing the property owners said the property owners already have spent $300,000 to remove contamination.

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