The embarrassing goof that invalidated a recent county auction of pristine public Black Hills land provided a $42,000 boost in revenue to Pennington County taxpayers after publicity over the mistake drove up bidder interest.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe purchased the remote 40-acre parcel at an auction Tuesday, paying more than $144,000 for the land. That price was about $42,000 more, or 41 percent higher, than the amount the first failed auction would have raised for county coffers.
The 40-acre tract west of Deerfield Road has limited access and sits about 6,850 feet in elevation. Pennington County owned the land for nearly a century, but didn't realize it until recently, and opted for an auction to get the land off its books.
The initial auction was declared void after a Hermosa man submitted a winning bid for what he thought was a total price of $2,550 for the land. In fact, he had bid that much per acre, for a total of $102,000 — an amount he did not have. County and auction officials declared a "no sale" soon after the man realized his mistake.
Rosebud Tribal Treasurer Louis Wayne Boyd made the purchase by phone through Todd McPherson, broker associate for McPherson Auction & Realty, the Rapid City company that conducted the sale. Boyd could not be reached by phone or email immediately after the auction.
This time, the tribe paid $3,600 per acre. The tribe will also pay another $14,400 for the 10 percent auction fee and a $10 filing fee, for a total of $158,410.
After paying its fees, the county will divide about $140,000 among its taxing districts, with the largest percentage going to the school system.
McPherson said the media attention from the failed auction prompted at least three potential buyers to fly in from as far as Kansas to visit the property, and there was interest from as far as California.
"In the end, fabulous for the taxpayers," McPherson said. "The anticipated money that was generated from the first auction, we surpassed that by so much it is fantastic. It works out great for the county, and for the different entities that are going to receive these funds."
The auction Tuesday attracted about 30 people, most of which did not attend the first event. Jim Dehaai of Keystone owns a cabin near the property, but the bids exceeded his cutoff price almost immediately.
"I figured it would go for more, but I didn't know it would go for that much more," Dehaai said. "That part of it is isolation; you don't have any power, there is no traffic up there. I think that appeals to a lot of people."
Despite the confusion from the first sale, the county taxpayers profited.
"(It's a) good thing for the taxpayers of Pennington County, and that is what we are suppose to do, get the most," said County Auditor Julie Pearson.
McPherson and his brother, who acted as auctioneer, joked multiple times before and during the auction the land would be sold per acre.
"This is round two, we are going to go again," McPherson said while laughing at the introduction. "Any questions on how we are selling today? I didn't think so."
The Rosebud Tribe land buy comes just days after a consortium of tribes raised $9 million to buy sacred land known as Pe' Sla in the Black Hills.
Officials from Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Minnesota announced Friday that they had raised $9 million to buy a nearly 2,000-acre tract of land known as Pe' Sla, from a private owner.