County Purchase Of Former Bus Station Questioned

The old Greyhound bus station in downtown Omaha may have a new owner, but the losing bidder says our tax money is being used to drive up the price.

The owner of the Cornhusker Driving School thought he would get the keys to the former bus station at 16th and Jackson. “I was congratulated that I had the highest bid,” said Pat Venditte, who offered $475,000. “I was going to keep it on the tax rolls and maybe add a business or two.” But brokers for Greyhound asked for a rebid and the driving school's offer got passed over.

Douglas County appears to be the highest bidder and soon the taxpayers will own the bus station. Venditte asked Douglas County Commissioner Mike Boyle to find out if the county went from second to best bid. “I'm going to look at how come he was told he had the bid and then they turned around and said no, we got to redo it,” said Boyle.

In an email to Venditte, the broker for Greyhound said they, meaning the county buyers, did not know your bid and what the county offered and paid will be known eventually because a government entity is buying the property.

“If the county was in fact involved in the bidding process, which they were and still are, why isn't this made known to the taxpayer?” asked Venditte.

Boyle says preliminary plans had the county tearing down the bus station for parking. “Unless there's some other use and I don't see any the way it’s built.”

Venditte wants to know more about the bidding process and how he went from driving the bus to missing it. The broker for Greyhound won't give Fact Finders any details. He will say no one has purchased the property yet. County officials who would be involved in the purchase couldn't be reached for comment.

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