The City of Asheville embarked on a program years ago to sell surplus city property to the private sector. An RFP/RFQ process was developed so organizations that promised to provide for city council’s “strategic” goals could apply to develop the property.

Council did not have a lot of success, but it did finally agree to sell the property across from the US Cellular Center. The land, which should be prime real estate, has remained vacant for years, and Mayor Terry Bellamy has described it as an eyesore.

The sale has riled other local hoteliers, who are now suing the city. If we were to follow the fungible money, we would see how short-selling the people’s assets to one group contributes to decreased municipal services or perhaps tax increases for all, including the competition.

Since that wouldn’t fly in the modern view of justice, the suing parties are alleging the city did not follow general statutes in unnecessarily accepting a selling price way below market value. They also complain, for green points, that McKibbon Hotel Group, the purchaser, will only be paying the run-of-the-mill employee $10/hour. The market-depressed wages might, after all, discourage holders of master’s degrees from applying to be maids there.