Trana Rogne: Fargo Flood Diversion Buyout Or Buyoff? You Decide


Two homes bordering the City of Oxbow were recently bought out by the Cass County Joint Water Resource District (CCJWRD) as part of the FM Diversion. The properties are similar in that both are upscale residences on the Red River; both adjoin the City of Oxbow; both are outside the proposed ring dike and neither would need to be moved or demolished for construction of the ring dike.

The Kaspari residence at 17495 52nd ST. SE, Hickson, adjoins the south side of Oxbow, includes twenty acres and has a taxed assessed value of $476,800.00. This property was bought out in April by the CCJWRD for $785,747.00 which is 165% of assessed value.

The Bartram residence, 5059 Makenzie Circle, adjoins the north side of Oxbow, sits on twelve acres and has a taxed assessed value of $553,300.00. This assessment value was recently adjusted in 2014. The Bartram property was bought out in May by the CCJWRD for $2,698,226.00. This buyout was 488% of assessed value.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]Kaspari got a 165% buyout, Bartram 488%. Draw your own conclusions.[/mks_pullquote]

Kevin Bartram, who received the 488% buyout, has been privately represented on multiple cases by attorney Erik Johnson for nearly twenty years. Erik Johnson, of Erik Johnson and Associates, is also the City Attorney for the City of Fargo, a member of the FM Diversion Authority.

Mr. Johnson and his firm also act as the FM Diversion Authority attorney and have received over $300,000.00 in attorney fees from the Diversion Authority. Erik Johnson and Associates has also represented the Cass County Joint Water Resource District on Diversion Authority law suits. The Cass County Joint Water Resource District is the FM Diversion Authority entity that gave Bartram the 488% buyout.

Erik Johnson and Associates is located at 505 Broadway N. Suite #206, in the old Ford assembly building, now an upscale office building owned by: Kevin Bartram. In Suite #207, next door to Erik Johnson, at 505 N. Broadway, and also renting from Kevin Bartram, is attorney Joseph Turman the Oxbow City Attorney.

One month before Bartram got his 488% buyout, the City of Oxbow annexed Bartram’s property. Oxbow has a contract, a memorandum of understanding, with the Diversion Authority that provides for super generous buyouts for its residents. Erik Johnson was one of the attorneys involved in the creation of that contract.

Down the hall at 505 Broadway N. in Suite #201 are the offices of Mutchler Bartram Architects, Pc. and MBA Development Company, companies wholly owned by Kevin Bartram. Kevin or his companies are slated to be the construction manager for the new multimillion dollar club house for the Oxbow Golf Course and Country Club.

Kaspari got a 165% buyout, Bartram 488%. Draw your own conclusions.