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Nature Conservancy officials look to clarify land deal

Opponents of the deal - and the deal's price tag - argue that the state knowingly overpaid for the land in order to gain political favor with environmental groups.

Prickett said, to her knowledge, the state followed the same procedure it always does when it comes to purchases like the one in question.

"New York state followed it's procedure and did those independent appraisals and made us an offer on the land, which was $9.8 million," she said. "The Nature Conservancy accepted that offer, and that was consistent with our policy. When we are selling land to a government agency, we will sell it for no more than the government's determined fair market value."

And comparing the price the Nature Conservancy pays for land to the price the state pays is not an apples-to-apples comparison, Prickett adds.

"If you wanted to compare the price the Nature Conservancy paid, with the fair market value of the land in 2008, you'd have to compare the appraised value of the land," she said. "But to compare the conservancy's purchase price with New York state's purchase price is not an apples-to-apples comparison in terms of value."

Cuomo's investigation into the deal is moving forward and his office has received clearance from Paterson - although the governor contends that no wrong-doing occurred.

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