After auctioning off the Bill Clayton Detention Center back in July, the City of Littlefield thought they were free from the financial strains. However, the private bidder has backed out of their $6 million offer.
The private buyer made the offer via telephone during the July auction. Thirty days after the bid, the contract on the property was supposed to close. However, the City received word that the deal had fallen through.
"It didn't happen and the reason it didn't happen was because the person who put in the highest bid basically backed out on their bid and kind of put us in a tailspin," City Manager Danny Davis said.
After years of mismanagement and broken contracts, the $11 million dollar detention center sat vacant. The city was left to foot the bill, still owing more than $9 million on the property. The city was certain the bid of $6 million would help close the gap on their debt. The news of the bidder's change of heart is frustrating for Davis.
"With the detention center, nothing has happened easy. It's been a struggle for us all along, so, in some ways, we were not that surprised that we've got a continued struggle," Davis said.
It was a struggle that listing agent Jef Conn says he wasn't entirely surprised by.
"We always hope for the best and plan for the worst. It's never the best when a contract falls out," Conn said.
Conn says he is working with the City of Littlefield to come up with a plan to get the detention center sold.
"There are some interested parties and we will be working with them and the city of Littlefield to find the best possible option and have them come in and buy the prison," Conn said.
For Davis, he is hopeful the detention center can be sold quickly to alleviate concerns all across the board.
"I'm retiring in two weeks, and I was very hopeful that this would be one problem my successor wouldn't have to deal with," Davis said.
Copyright 2011 KCBD. All rights reserved.