Deal Breaker

Congressman Rick Renzi and the very strange coincidence

It was only after that, apparently, that the feds realized that the land in Florence was full of pygmy owls, Collazo says. And since pygmy owls are an endangered species, that would severely limit anyone's ability to build much of anything on that land.

Aries didn't return calls. But it seems likely that the savvy investors suffered buyer's remorse.

They've put the land back on the market. Sandlin says they've even tried to interest him in buying it back. Naturally, he's not interested.

But Sandlin insists that Renzi couldn't have been possibly trying to help him.

"Rick Renzi is one of the most honest and ethical people I've ever met in my life," he says. "We're friends. But I guarantee you, he's not going to do anything for me or anyone else that's going to compromise his ethics."

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