Lawmakers seek probe in NorCal Delta deal

March 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Two California lawmakers are asking a federal prosecutor to investigate why the state spent $35 million on a land deal they say was overvalued by as much as $10 million. The money went to The Nature Conservancy, a national environmental group, to buy Staten Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in 2001.

The state auditor recently questioned the benefits of using more than $17 million in state bond money for an easement, levee repairs and operating costs on the 9,200-acre island.

Republican Assemblymen Bill Maze of Visalia and Doug LaMalfa of Richvale want a federal investigation of the deal.

Spokesmen for The Nature Conservancy and state Resources Agency say there was nothing improper.