Editorial

Neither Mr. Nickels, nor Mr. Otto were ‘coached’ on land sale

Since the WOOD-TV “news” story last week, there has been quite a bit of misinformation regarding the land sale between the City of Wayland and Keith Nickels and Josh Otto.

There is a perception that Mr. Nickels and Mr. Otto were “coached” in terms of what to offer for the purchase of the property. This is 100% untrue.

At no time did this occur. Mr. Nickels posed the question to me if City Council would consider a purchase offer for $20,000. My response to him was simply that I could not speak for City Council, but that if he did make an offer to purchase, I would present it to Council.

I believe that Mr. Otto simply misspoke on the WOOD-TV story. Most of us seldom are asked questions while the cameras are rolling.  I believe that in his enthusiasm to discuss this potential opportunity, he made an honest mistake in that statement.

There was absolutely no “coaching” of either Mr. Nickels or Mr. Otto. There were no “back room deals” or “secret deals.” People are entitled to their own opinions on the potential sale of city property, but not their own “facts.”

I felt that this point needed clarifying.

Tim McLean, City Manager, City of Wayland

1 Comment

  • Mr. McLean, thank you for your post and explanation. The TV-8 broadcast about the property was viewed by many, and I believe you when you say there was no coaching of the prospective buyers by you.

    However, the interview with Mr. Otto on tape claimed he asked what it would take to buy the property, and “they” said “in the $20’s”. As you denied you coached them, I certainly take you at your word, you seem like an honorable man. However, there are more people in City Hall than you – possibly others did and you knew nothing about it? Or Mr. Otto was telling a whopper? Maybe Mr. Otto would like to comment?

    Either way, a piece of commercial property of 25.11 acres selling for $20,000 from a listing price of $52,500 per acre is a $1,298,275.00 difference. This is fact, not opinion.
    Even if it only sold for half the price per acre, it would be a deal and the city of Wayland would have been better for the extra revenue.

    I realize there was another business expressing interest in developing the property and bringing jobs to the city, which would have been great. Once it was found to have wetland issues, the City Council offered to sell it for $1 and 50% of tax abatement for 12 years – but it was a real company with jobs. Neither Mr. Otto or Mr. Nickels are developers, but they are dreamers. And boy did their dreams come true.

    This is a sad saga in the history of Wayland. To the City Council; look inside yourselves and ask if you did the right thing, knowing by publicly asking for bids or public land auction would most surely garnered more revenue. The citizens should be outraged you sold the land for peanuts, with no guarantee it will be developed.

    I wish Mr. Otto/Mr. Nickels well, they have plenty of cheap land upon which to develop – whatever that may be. I just hope it will benefit the City of Wayland.

    To the Mayor and City Council, you have proven you are inept and incompetent when it comes to selling city assets. Please learn from this and improve; if not, your positions should be held by those willing and competent to do the job.

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