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GOP Senate Candidate's Family Business Bought, Closed Mobile Home Park She Boasts About In Ads

The mobile home park Republican Terri Lynn Land talks of in ads is now vacant. One hundred and seventy families were forced to move out to make way for commercial development.

Posted on April 8, 2014, at 1:20 p.m. ET

Terri Lynn Land is running as a Republican to replace retiring incumbent Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.

She previously was the secretary of state of Michigan and a member of the Republican National Committee.

Land's family also owns a successful real estate business; she has loaned $1 million to her own campaign.

Her real estate assets are worth tens of millions of dollars, according to financial disclosure reports. The money is mostly in apartment complexes in western Michigan. They are worth at least $34 million.

Land often talks about growing up and working in a trailer park and motel her grandparents owned.

"So he built a little motel," Land said at a campaign stop, speaking about her grandfather, an immigrant. "Then he started a trailer park and that is where I grew up. My grandmother did the books and she was a tough taskmaster. I actually mowed lawns and was changing sheets in the motel for my grandma. I learned about hard work and I learned how business in a family can come together."

"She lived at the trailer park, working alongside her family mowing lawns and changing sheets at the motel," says a Land ad.

View this video on YouTube

Her campaign website also cites the experience: "As both the business and Terri grew, Terri worked alongside her family at the motel, cleaning rooms, changing the beds, and working various jobs around the property."

Today, however, the former mobile home park owned by her grandparents is vacant.


Images of what the mobile home park used to look like are still available here.

In 1995, the LaGrande Mobile Home Park was sold by Land's grandparents to LaGrande LLC, which is owned by the Land family according to the Grand Rapids Press. Land's husband, Daniel Hibma, was listed as the registered agent of LaGrande LLC.

Land & Company, which is also owned and operated by the Land family, then decided to close of the trailer park, hoping to rezone the land for commercial use.

According to a 2004 article from the Grand Rapids Press, after a consulting company for the city recommended redevelopment of the area, LaGrande LLC told 170 families who lived at the mobile home park that they had a year to move.

If they moved within six months, the company would pay their relocation costs. If the residents didn't move out within one year, they would be evicted, according to the report.

The plans for the property then became a subject of dispute between Land & Company and the city of Grandville.

According to minutes from the City of Grandville planning commission meetings, Land & Company wanted to rezone the former trailer park to commercial zoning following the park's closure.

The Grandville Planning Commission raised objections to Land & Company's plan to build a retail center and a handful of restaurants on the site, according to the Grand Rapids Press. The Planning Commission's master plan for the site, developed by the Downtown Development Authority, called for the property to be "mixed use."

Minutes from the Grandville Planning Commission show a dispute between Land & Company and the city about what do with the land followed.

"Dan Hibma, Co-owner for Land & Company, came before the Planning Commission to state he did not feel his property should be limited to the DDA's experiment," the Planning Commission minutes read. "He is anxious to market the property and feels he would get the most activity if it were zoned C-5. He requested that the Planning Commission give him the C-5 zoning and let Land & Company find out what type of buyers will come in. "

Speaking with BuzzFeed, a representative from the City of Grandville said it "was the property owner's choice" to close the mobile home park.

Today, the property is still vacant. It is currently listed for sale.

When asked for comment about the mobile home park, Land's campaign provided BuzzFeed the following statement:

Like millions of Americans, Terri has been a part of her family's small business and understands the struggles and hurdles that workers face in this economy, which stands in stark contrast to Gary Peters who was a salesman for Wall Street big banks and power brokers, making millions trading highly speculative derivatives. Before the financial collapse, many warned that complex derivatives trading posed catastrophic risk to the financial markets. In Washington, Congressman Peters himself has said that Wall Street engaged in "casino style" investments and that the derivatives market was "in need of urgent reform," despite the fact that he profited greatly from it, just another sign that his hypocrisy knows no bounds."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.