Property owners should be vigilant

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Concerned residents who have received a letter from Asset Holding, LLC. offering them $100 per acre for their land or livestock may send correspondence to the state’s Consumer Protection Division office, said an official of the state’s Attorney General’s office.
The company’s mail campaign is being examined by the state’s Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s office, said Kenneth Owens, a paralegal with the division.

Asset Holding has failed to return telephone messages from the Quay County Sun the last two weeks.
Owens gave a presentation last week to senior citizens in Tucumcari. Owens accompanied Attorney General Gary King, who was here to present a workshop on the Open Meetings Act.

When Owens asked if anyone in the room had received the mailing from Asset Holding, several people raised their hands.
Owens said concerned residents could give their letters to the Quay County tax assessor.

Quay County Tax Assessor Janie Murray said, “I’ve gotten several calls from residents about the letters. Land in Quay County is worth more than that.”

In Quay County, an acre of land is “way more than a hundred,” said Richard Randals of the New Mexico Property Group.
For example, for 40 acres of grassland, “it would start at least $500 per acre and more, depending on the improvements such as water, water rights, electricity and housing,” Randals said.

One letter from the company stated it would pay $100 for someone’s cow, she said.

“Depending on the breed, grade and quality of a cow, and how old they are, the price can range from $800 to $1,500, and possibly more,” said J. Bronson Moore, a rancher, who is semi-retired.

“I’d just hate to see some vulnerable person be taken advantage of,” Murray said.

Residents in Quay County started to receive letters last week from Asset Holding, Murray said.

According to the company’s letterhead, they are based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In its letter the company states: Assets “is a cash buyer and has the ability to complete a transaction quickly … and will fund all closing costs associated with the sale,” according to Asset’s letter to one Quay resident.

Because the company also lists the legal description of a property belonging to the addressee and provides a purchase agreement, some people may not be as cautious as they should be, she said.

Others outside of Quay County have also been receiving the letters.

“We are looking into some of the letters in San Miguel County,” said Phil Sisneros, director of communications for the Attorney General’s office. “We are asking them to save them and send them in.”

Sisneros said consumers need to be cautious with any offer, ask questions and seek legal advice before you take any steps. Also, “Do not let yourself be pressured into anything that has to do with property. If necessary, seek legal advice,” he said.

The company has one unsatisfied complaint according to the Better Business Bureau’s Web site, said Gena Coldwell, spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau of the Southwest based in Albuquerque.

“The BBB cannot recommend a business, whether they are members or non-members. But we can report when a business has failed to respond to a complaint,” Coldwell said.

Any information, Sisneros said, can be mailed to the Consumer Protection Division
Attention: Cordy Medina
Constituents Service Director
P.O. Drawer 1508
Santa Fe, NM 8704-1508
To contact the state’s Consumer Protection Division call (800) 678-1508.
For inquiries and/or to file a complaint with New Mexico Better Business Bureau go to: www.arizonabbb.org or call (800) 873-2224.