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Buyer of Senator Mike Lee’s home says complaints are unfounded

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jun 26, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- A complaint filed with the FEC suggests that Senator Mike Lee may have inappropriately benefited when he sold his home in a short sale to a friend, but that friend tells FOX 13 News the information in that complaint is incorrect.

In an interview with FOX 13 News, the man who purchased Lee's home said the FBI investigated the deal shortly after it was made and filed no charges.

The complaint, filed by the left leaning watchdog group Alliance for a Better Utah, includes a published report saying management trainer Ron McMillan paid $720,000 for Lee's former home, which is listed to have a net worth of more than $1.1 million.

In the process of completing the short sale, JP Morgan Chase Bank forgave Lee's debt of as much as $400,000.

McMillan told FOX 13 News he paid far more than that and very close to the appraised value.

"We made several offers and counter offers with Chase Bank and finally agreed on a price in the mid 900's. I think $968,000," McMillan said.

McMillan also said that he was contacted by Lee's realtor, who was working from a list of potential interested buyers provided by the senator. McMillan said the entire negotiation was done with the realtor and JP Morgan Chase Bank.

McMillan said he and Lee never talked during the home negotiation, and he said it was only after the sale was complete that he thought of asking Lee if he wanted to rent the home McMillan was vacating.

Lee currently lives in that home.

Maryann Martindale with the Alliance for a Better Utah said they simply want the FEC to look into the situation.

"There may be very clear answers, but it's time to get those," Martindale said.

The Alliance is going after more answers. The complaint also asks the FEC to look into the possibility Lee accepted "Straw" donations, meaning donations given by one person in the name of another in order to skirt campaign finance law.