LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons said he made a mistake last year in signing a contract that allows a developer to master plan a state-owned parcel that is being considered for annexation into Las Cruces.
"We did jump the gun," Lyons said Friday. "We should have waited a month."
The state Land Office has been criticized in recent weeks for giving Solo Investments' Philip Philippou a sweetheart deal. The contract was signed Dec. 26, but the notice gave a deadline of Feb. 1 for proposals to be submitted.
Lyons has said he didn't wait until the deadline to see what other proposals might be submitted because Philippou's "was so good and above everybody else's."
He also said the proposal was attractive because it offered to master plan the adjacent plot at no cost.
"We did err, but I thought that if we were going to err, it should be on the side of public school kids in New Mexico," Lyons said Friday.