Town accidentally sells municipal water tower

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. blunder / ˈblʌn dər / (v.) – to make a careless mistake

    Cassie blundered and spelled the client’s name wrong in her email.

  2. transaction / trænˈzæk ʃən / (n.) – the act of buying or selling something

    The finance department reviews all transactions to make sure they were done correctly.

  3. parcel / ˈpɑr səl / (n.) – an area of land

    The businessman bought a parcel of land near the beach because he wanted to build a small resort.

  4. warranty deed / ˈwɔr ən ti did / (n.) – a document that shows that a person really owns a property and has fully paid for it

    The real estate agent sent me the house’s warranty deed.

  5. due diligence / ˈdu ˈdɪl ɪ dʒəns / (n.) – reasonable steps that someone takes to avoid causing problems for himself/herself or others

    As a journalist, I should exercise due diligence to ensure that everything I write is true.


Read the text below.

A small town in Florida accidentally sold its water tower in a blundered real estate transaction.

A businessman purchased a municipal building underneath the city of Brooksville’s water tower last April for $55,000 (¥6 million) with the goal of converting it into a gym. However, when Bobby Read went to the county to get an address for his new business location, he was told the parcel he bought included the entire water tower site, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Luckily for the town, Read was willing to give it back. County records show he transferred the water tower back to Brooksville through a warranty deed in May. The town of 8,500 residents is located 80 kilometers north of Tampa.

“I don’t know where the blame falls here,” said Blake Bell, a city council member. “We’re council members and we rely on the city manager. We assume that he has done his due diligence.”

City Manager Mark Kutney blamed the use of a bad legal description for what happened. The city’s redevelopment agency director resigned after the accidental sale.

“We’re human. … Sometimes we make a mistake,” Kutney said. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The city’s redevelopment agency director resigned after the accidental sale. Do you think it was the right thing for him to do? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Luckily for the town, Read was willing to transfer the water tower back to them through a warranty deed. If you were Read, would you have transferred it back to the town too, or would you have done something else (ex. kept it, offered to sell it back for a price)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • A city council member said he didn’t know where the blame falls, while the city manager blamed the use of a bad legal description. Do you think it’s important to find out who or what is to blame for this incident? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In what situations do you think it’s especially important to not make mistakes (ex. legal transactions, business deals)? What can people do to avoid making careless mistakes? Why? Discuss.