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Gushikawa citizens claim land sold too cheap, demand mayor pay

Date Posted: 2002-05-23

Residents of Gushikawa City are up in arms against their leaders when it became known that the mayor had signed a contract to sell a parcel of and to a waste disposal company at a price the citizens consider excessively cheap. 33 residents have sued Gushikawa City Mayor Tsuneo Chinen demanding that he pay back to city coffers ¥76.2 million.

According to plaintiffs. The mayor signed the disputed land deal without informing citizens of details. They say that the waste disposal company had leased the 29,861 square meter plot of land before. When negotiating the deal, city officials initially set the price at ¥9,000 per square meter. The company countered with an offer of ¥5,435 per square meter. Eventually the price was set at ¥6,450 per square meter and the company paid the price. However, the lawsuit claims that the city mayor agreed to the negotiated price alone without obtaining the assembly’s consent, and demand that the mayor must pay the difference.

The mayor agrees that the final price is less than the city originally set, but he says that the city assembly was provided with all pertinent details in writing and that the assembly agreed to the new price in its regular business meeting. “I obtained an agreement from the assembly. These citizens have misunderstood the facts,” the mayor states.

However, the plaintiffs cite an earlier case in 1994 when the court found that Chinen had sold city land under reasonable cost, and ordered him to pay the difference.

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