Real estate agents in school land deal accused of inflating price

Two prominent Gainesville real estate agents were at the center of a controversial school board land deal – the first major purchase funded by a new half-cent sales tax – that resulted in the district buying a property last year for twice as much money as the land sold in late 2018, according to interviews and a review of hundreds of pages of emails and documents.

The interviews, emails and documents show that the agents worked to increase the sale price of the property despite some school board officials believing the agents represented Alachua County Public Schools. One message between the two agents described efforts to “sway the # up as much as possible” increasing the cost to county taxpayers by millions of dollars – and raising the total commission payments they collected on the deal.