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City completes house purchase

It will cost taxpayers an extra $3,070 to take possession of a house built on the wrong lot.

The City Council voted Thursday to buy the lot on N 35th Street where the house sits for $10,000.

If everything had gone as planned, the owner was willing in September 1999 to sell the same lot for just $6,930.

The nonprofit Tampa-Hillsborough Action Plan was supposed to buy the lot at the lower price. But for some reason, THAP never closed on the purchase.

Even so, THAP went ahead and used federal housing funds to build a house on the lot. At the time, THAP was working with the city to build affordable housing.

Since the house was built on land that someone else owned, the house was never finished, and no one moved in.

Ryan Construction built the house on the wrong lot, but denies responsibility for the mistake. The company's head, Dean Ryan, was indicted last year on unrelated charges of bribing city housing officials.

Last year, new Mayor Pam Iorio discovered the error, which had not been reported to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The city government filed suit to obtain the property, and then agreed to settle. Taxpayers will pay the appraised value on the lot, City Attorney Fred Karl said.

Thursday's purchase will allow the city to complete the house and sell it to a needy resident who can qualify for taxpayer-backed loans.

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