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Investigation Raises Questions about Vern Buchanan Land Deal Involving Habitat for Humanity

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A Tampa Bay Times investigation is raising questions about Congressman Vern Buchanan of Sarasota and a land deal involving a nonprofit that helps low-income families get new homes: Manatee County Habitat for Humanity.

It says that:

1. Buchanan's brother sold property to the Habitat chapter at what appears to be an inflated price. The land is now worth about one-third what the nonprofit paid for it in 2009.

2. Buchanan's wife is now listed as the person in charge of that mortgage.

3. Buchanan is now using that loan as collateral against a larger loan from Bank of America.

4. Buchanan's former chief of staff became head of Manatee County Habitat for Humanity shorty after the land deal was made.

Buchanan's spokespeople are saying he did nothing improper.

Scott Finn is a former news director at WUSF Public Media, which provides in-depth reporting for Tampa Bay and all of Florida.
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