Fridley page 36

[no source, no date]

$2,593,277 TNT Option Total
            $1,073,802 Paid by U. S. for 121 of Tract’s 648 Parcels

            Total option price for the 268 parcels of St. Charles County land which the War Department is acquiring for the TNT plant at Weldon Springs is $2,593,277, C. H. Ewald, office manager of the St. Charles branch of the Kansas City Title Company, which is proving the titles for the government, said yesterday. He explained this did not include an option for the Ajax Pipe Line Company of Oklahoma, whose pipe line crosses the 16,000-acre plant site. Ewald said two to three proposals had been made to the pipe line company, ranging from $300,000 to $400,000, to remove its lines from the area.
$1,073,802 PAID
            Records at St. Charles yesterday disclosed the government has paid $1,073,802 for 6729 acres and 19 town lots for 121 of the 648 parcels of property in the tract. The assessed valuation of the 648 tracts is $350,000, which is based on 35 to 40 per cent of the actual value. The highest assessed valuation for any tract was the 160 acres belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Linnenbringer, farmers, which was fixed at $6260 in the tax books. They received $34,000 from the government for the tract. Other assessed valuations ranged from $6260 down to $100 a tract.
            Deeds completing transfer to the government have been filed in the St. Charles County Recorder’s office for 144 of the 268 tracts, but payment has been made for only 121 parcels. Checks totaling $370,921 for 25 parcels were held up by the Department of Justice, which ordered an inquiry following complaints that original appraisals by R. Newton McDowell, Kansas City contractor engaged by the government to obtain the land, were too high.
            New appraisals of the property, made by Department of Justice agents, now are being studied in Washington.
            McDowell, who is to get 5 per cent commission on the $3,000,000 which the government has agreed to pay for the site, conferred in Washington yesterday with John J. O’Brien of the Department of Justice staff. McDowell is scheduled to return to Washington later to explain his options.
            The largest payment to an individual landowner, it appeared, would go to Birch O. Mahaffey, St. Louis capitalist, for his 630 acres along the Missouri River bluffs. D. M. Bolton, St. Charles manager for McDowell, said the Mahaffey options were at the rate of $200 an acre, which would mean payment of $126,000 to Mahaffey. Deeds have been filed on three of the five parcels into which the Mahaffey holdings are divided. For these, the records show, he received $62,054. Options had been procured but deeds not filed on two other tracts of 138 and 187 acres, when the Department of Justice’s stop order was received.
            The records disclose one 165-acre tract which Mahaffey sold to the government for $41,141 he acquired in 1929 from Charles V. Seelinger and Isidore Stahldahl. Seelinger, who runs a clothing store in St. Charles, said Mahaffey paid him $16,850 for the tract.
            Another 40-acre tract Mahaffey bought in 1927 from Allevia T. Van Cleave for $2000 he sold to the government for $8202.
            According to Bolton the relatively high price was set for the Mahaffey holdings because he had planned to subdivide them for suburban homesites. The only improvements on the Mahaffey tracts, according to Bolton, was an eight-room stone and frame clubhouse and a tenant house.
            Large payments to individual landowners included $42,288 to Mr. and Mrs. William Kaut for their 74 acres, assessed at $5000. Kaut is general superintendent for the Brown Shoe Company. Kaut, who was ill yesterday, could not comment but his son, William Kaut Jr., said there were extensive improvements on the grounds including a nine-room stone house with four baths.
            Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lautner, 5557A Bates street, St. Louis, received $18,269 for 57 acres assessed at $2680. Lautner is a brick contractor. His wife said improvements on the tract included a five-room bungalow, a lake, a fruit orchard and a grape arbor.
            Records show two sisters employed by the government at Kansas City, the Misses Iva and Verna Castillo, got $27,860 for their 217 acres of farm lands, assessed at $3770.

[no source, January 24, 1941]

[handwritten: Jan. 24, 1941]
Government WIll Have To Pay Three Times Times Actual Value of the 16,000 Acres
R. Newton McDowell of Kansas City May Receive As Much As $150,000 In Commissions

            A sweeping investigation of prices allowed landowners in the TNT area by R. Newton McDowell, Government purchasing agent is under way by the Department of Justice.
            Three St. Charles county men are checking ten scattered parcels of land for the Federal Bureau to ascertain the true values. The men have been busy for more than a week.
            Although the assessed valuation of the approximate 16,000 acres is $350,000 which is usually figured at thirty-five to forty per cent of the actual value, the Government will have to pay from two to three times the real value, it was learned.
            Persons familiar with property estimate the land worth about $1,000,000 but McDowell announced it would require more than $2,000,000 and may run as high as $3,000,000 for the purchase when he first started here. Based on the early payments, it is estimated the Government will have to pay $3,000,000 for the property.
            McDowell is receiving five per cent commission on all the land and stands to receive in the neighborhood of $100,000 to $150,000 for his services.
            Birch O. Mahaffey, St. Louis real estate man, owns several tracts of land along the Missouri River bluffs. Mahaffey was assessed at $1560 for one tract of 165 acres and was paid $41,441.05 for the land by the Government. William Kaut who owned the home in “Hidden Valley” was assessed at $5,000 and received more than $40,000 for his property. In all cases the amounts paid far exceed the assessed valuation.
            Payment has been made on 123, or approximately one-half of the total tracts of land in the area. It was learned the Government is surprised at the amount the land cost, their early estimates being closer to the actual value than the $3,000,000.