KENNEWICK — Farmland Reserve Inc., the real estate company of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, submitted the high bid of $209 million for the Easterday ranch properties in Eastern Washington, topping a company linked to Bill Gates.
The winning bid, which must be approved by a judge, was reported Monday, June 21, to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Eastern Washington.
Gates’ company, Delaware-based 100C LLC, bid $208 million, according to court records.
Farmland Reserve plans to acquire Easterday properties in Benton County, Washington, commonly known as Goose Gap Farm, River Farm, Cox Farm and Farm Manager House.
Cody Easterday and his wife and mother declared bankruptcy in February as he faced charges of defrauding Tyson Foods and another company of $244 million by billing the companies for nonexistent cattle.
Easterday, 49, pleaded guilty March 31 to one count of wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 4 in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Washington.
Easterday’s grandfather founded the ranch and farm in 1959.
The auction was conducted June 17 via video conference and was limited to five qualified bidders.