No Misuse of Taxes in Aetna Land Purchase: Auditors

There was no misuse of taxpayer money in the state Department of Transportation’s purchase of land from Aetna to use for the New Britain-Hartford busway, according to state auditors.

Sen. Jason Welch, a Republican representing the 31st district, asked for the review and auditors also found that that the $5.6 million DOT paid for the land was authorized. Of the $5.6 million, $4.5 million came from federal funds and $1.1 million came from state funds.

“Regarding apparent overpayments, the amount DOT paid was in accordance with the Federal regulations governing property acquisitions that are made using Federal funds,” principal auditor Michael DiDomizio wrote. “The amounts paid were supported by appraisals prepared by independent appraisers that DOT hired.”

DOT purchased two properties. One is for the busway station and the other is for realigning the intersection.

“The appraisers were hired to determine the fair market value based on the amount of damages that Aetna would suffer from the taking of the properties. That should not be confused with estimating the fair market value when there is a willing seller and a willing buyer, which in this case would most likely have been considerably less,” DiDomizio wrote.

The auditors did not attempt to evaluate the independent appraisals, but reviewed them to determine that DOT complied with the applicable federal regulations.

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