Blue Dog Gets Real Estate Windfall From Drug Company

USA Drug overpaid for Ross' wife's pharmacy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2009 10:55 AM CDT
In this Aug. 7, 2007 file photo, Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., is interviewed in Little Rock, Ark.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)
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(Newser) – Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross, a Blue Dog Democrat who’s taken a leading role in the health care debate, sold a piece of commercial real estate to a pharmaceutical company for an eye-popping sum in 2007, Pro Publica reports. USA Drug paid $420,000 for the property in Prescott, Ark.—substantially more than both a county assessment of its worth and an individual appraisal. “You can buy half the town for $420,000,” says the chairman of the town’s only licensed real estate appraiser.

The building Ross sold is the site of Holly’s Health Mart, run by his pharmacist wife, Holly. USA Drugs also paid $500,000 to $1 million for the pharmacy’s assets, and paid Holly Ross another $100,001 to $250,000 to sign a non-compete agreement, bringing the total value of the score to between $1 million and $1.67 million. Holly remains as the pharmacist under the new ownership, and, oh yeah, Ross got a $2,300 campaign contribution from the buyer's owner two weeks after the sale.