Ranch Owner Sells Site of September 3 Dog Attacks to Dakota Access Pipeliner

Remember the site of Dakota Access pipeline security’s dog and pepper spray attacks on trespassing protestors on September 3? The owner of that land, David Meyer, has sold his ranch to Dakota Access builder Energy Transfer Partners:

A phone call to David Meyer confirmed the sale. He didn’t want to go into detail, but did say he sold the land for liability reasons.

He says there were just too many people on his property all the time.

He added, “It’s a beautiful ranch, but I just wanted out” [“Cannonball Ranch Sold to Dakota Access LLC,” KX News, 2016.09.22].

North Dakota blogger Rob Port notes that, despite a previous listing price of $5 million, the deed says Energy Transfer Partners bought the ranch last week Tuesday “for and in consideration of the sum of One Hundred Dollars.” Port explains that $100 is likely a dummy number meant to hide the real purchase price from us.

Hmm… I thought the public had a right to know what land sells for, so that taxes can be assessed and reasonable offers be made on similar land by fair free market rules. But hey, we shouldn’t expect Big Oil to want the public to have any information.

31 Responses to Ranch Owner Sells Site of September 3 Dog Attacks to Dakota Access Pipeliner

  1. mike from iowa

    Oh, noes! Is liability even a thing anymore? I thought wingnuts protected the haves from the peons of the world.

  2. I wish they had offered the property for tribal purchase.

  3. I believe there was a public offering as noted by Cory. The Tribe does not have the resources to make those kinds of purchases when people on the reservation are without jobs and adequate provisions. A 5 million dollar purchase is a lot when you have cattle prices in the drink right now with no end in sight. We all remember the squeal when the purchase was made http://bigstory.ap.org/article/40833fea3be644fb8bd547ed6da8bbd8/sioux-tribes-push-protect-sacred-black-hills-site-pe-sla Then, with trade deals that totally suck along with the high price of retail beef, not a good deal for purchasing. Only outside interests are making the big land purchases here in cattle country as most of the ranches have built to their capacity.

    Where was Ted Turner? At least he would have made the place into something that could return an animal like the Swift Fox back into the system while leaving it as undisturbed as possible.

  4. Mr. Jerry, the tribe bought a little piece of Retnolds Prairie for millions. Perhaps this is simple not as nice a piece of real estate.

  5. If hundreds of people were trespassing on my property causing problems I’d be worried about getting sued too. But beyond that issue, I think this landowner had the pipeline company over a barrel, no pun intended. He could have told the company that he’d let people come onto the property and hunt for ancient burial sites if they didn’t buy him out. That would have put a real crimp in the pipeline plans, no pun intended.

  6. Troy Jones


    Neither an attorney or an expert in real estate transactions but it looks like a transaction like the following:

    Land owner sells land to a land developer for a nominal amount. Land developer does what they do (plot out the development, gets permits, makes improvements) and as the property is sold in pieces the original owner gets paid as per the contract. This is done for two reasons: First, the original landowner doesn’t assume certain risks associated with the development work. Second, the original landowner gets to share in some premium if the development is successful.

    How this might apply here is DAPL controls the “development” and when the ranch is ultimately sold to a 3rd party, the original owner gets his true proceeds. Or, by what I read, the original owner retains all rights to the property via easements and may have a right to buy it back.

    I mention this because the $100 price tag is just a placeholder as the ultimate sale and economic value is currently unknown and isn’t an attempt to hide the purchase price.

  7. Paul Seamans

    I agree with Rorschach. Energy Transfer Partners bought this land to prevent anymore cultural resource surveys.

    North Dakota has recently passed strict anti-corporate farming laws. I believe it passed with something like a 75% vote. It may even have been a constitutional amendment, I don’t exactly recall. This purchase by ETP will most likely be challenged under this statute.

    I don’t buy rancher Meyers’ claim that the reason he sold is because of liability issues. Wester ranchers do not let themselves be pushed around by someone like ETP. They will fight to the death if they think that they are in the right.

  8. I like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4b3q0Bo5xM&feature=youtu.be Maybe the federal government could loan the tribe the money to make this purchase after it is voided by challenge. By doing so, there then could be a crowd fund to make the land purchase. This DAPL protest is world wide now, with archaeologists in Europe, for one, are pretty pissed that this corporation can run rough shod over historical grounds .http://inhabitat.com/protestors-arrested-as-dakota-access-pipeline-company-pledges-to-continue-construction/

  9. Paul Seamans

    Good idea Jerry. Much of the pasture is already fenced for buffalo. A world wide fund raiser just might work.

  10. @Troy Jones, I have seen that county assessors in South Dakota do not accept the one dollar or 100 dollar note for the purchase of real estate, they want what was paid listed. I wonder how the state of North Dakota county assessors view this for tax purposes?

  11. Paul Seamans

    In South Dakota it has been that when a Warranty Deed is filed with the Register of Deeds then a purchase price also needs to be filed. The reason for this is that the State of South Dakota needs to get its cut from the purchaser. South Dakota will not settle for “$1 and other valuable considerations”. The purchase price needs to be established. I believe that it is something like 1% of the purchase price that goes to the state. Things may he different in North Dakota.

    A title search of this property might turn up interesting information. Anything that has been filed in regard to this property will be found with a good title search. Liens, court actions, etc.. Anyone is permitted to do a title search at the County Register of Deeds office.

  12. Darin Larson

    Last time I looked, the title transfer fee was 50 cents per $1,000 of real estate sold in SD.

  13. Paul Seamans

    Thanks Darin. Cheaper than I had remembered.

  14. Paul Seamans

    The North Dakota legislature had passed SB 2351 to ease restrictions on corporate farming. The North Dakota Farmers Union gathered 20,000 signatures to refer this law on the ballot. In June Measure One to restrict corporate farming passed 75% to 25%.

    As might be expected the North Dakota Farm Bureau is challenging this vote in court.

    Energy Transfer Partners feels that this law doesn’t apply to them.

  15. Powerful news Mr. Seamans. Hot off the press http://www.bia.gov/WhoWeAre/AS-IA/ORM/TribalInput/index.htm As Joe Bidden once said, “this is a big________deal, after the announcement of the ACA… or words and blanks to that gist.

  16. Paul Seamans

    Thanks Jerry. I may have to attend to the listening session in Rapid City on Nov. 11th.

  17. Troy Jones


    I don’t disagree with you in general, esp. with regard to SD law. However, I do faintly have recollection for an provision with regard to an “interim” transaction which defers the final amount to be entered when it is finally known. I wish I knew more than a foggy recollection but hoping it will trigger something from someone who knows more than me. Its why I’m asking the lawyer in the house.

    And, since you seem to have some knowledge on it, I’m wondering how the Register of Deed handles the sale of businesses which include Land, Building, Land and Building Improvements, equipment, current assets and goodwill. A lot of transactions are for the gross amount and the parties don’t allocate price to each category until they work through the IRS rules which often isn’t finalized until the parties file their tax returns. Do they take an estimate or a nominal amount for the Real Estate (Land, Building, and land/building improvements)?

  18. Paul Seamans

    Troy, in my experience when a warranty deed is filed for a property the value filed is for that property and everything on it. Things like buildings, fences, wells, etc. would be included in that purchase price and would be subject to the state tax. I wouldn’t know about such things as good will and the like.

  19. Troy Jones

    I agree Paul. My question is when the “Purchase Price” is the total paid for all the things you mention plus accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, and goodwill. At that moment, neither the buyer or seller knows how much of the price is allocated to the items subject to the Warranty Deed and don’t know until taxes are filed.

    I guess my point is that there are alot of transactions where the price of the land/buildings aren’t known when the property changes hands. I wonder how that is handled and then whether it applies in this situation.

  20. mike from iowa

    Records show the Meyers purchased about 2,400 acres of the ranch in 2013 for $3.2 million; that land makes up half of the sale Thursday. Financial terms between ETP and the Meyers do not have to be disclosed under state law because the land has been reclassified from agriculture to industrial, the state Tax Department said.
    The sale also is exempt from North Dakota’s Depression-era anti-corporate farming law that limits the number of nonprofit groups allowed to buy land, and requires the governor to approve land purchases.

  21. Paul Seamans

    Thanks mike, classified as industrial. That is interesting. This rangeland is 30 miles south of Mandan in the middle of nowhere. Maybe ETP plans to build a refinery on this land, or so they might say. What a crock.

  22. It looks like when you have a stable full of lawyers, they can find ways of screwing landowners and taxpayers without a care in the world. Once again, they have found another loophole in the system meant to protect landowners as well as taxpayers.

  23. Wait: who reclassified the land as industrial? Can a buyer just up and do that? If the whole ranch is reclassified as industrial, can anyone still run cattle on it?

  24. mike from iowa

    One article said the purchase gives DAPL easier access to the pipeline.

    The big deal is the land is no longer subject to surveys for artifacts and burial grounds.

    Speaking personally, I didn’t think ETP bought the ranch as a friendly gesture to the tribes.

  25. The governor on down is oil crazy, so they run the place like South Dakota runs the place here, right over the top of you.

  26. well yes but the state could not have permited a deep oil well in non-oil bearing geology near wasta, the one developers with no experience broke the drill stem in so the borehole can’t be sealed leaving the area aquifers at risk, with out adequate bond, could they??? almost smells like Heather Wilson’s handiwork at SDSM&T.

  27. Paul Seamans

    I agree with most of the comments here. How do you reclassify 6000 acres of rangeland in the middle of nowhere to industrial. I’m not saying it hasn’t been done but it sounds quite odd. Doesn’t it at least take an action by a local zoning board? It sounds like something that ETP would come up with.

  28. Mr. Seamans, I would look to something like this and then get some damn good bulldog lawyers to go after this. http://www.realestatece.com/cgi-bin/z_course?mode=lookup&purchaseid=demo_1110609164602192&chapter_num=328

  29. Richard Schriever

    You will find “Land for sale – will rezone to suite” signs all around the oil patch.

    Evidently, the seller is allowed to rezone the land on their own – no public hearings, no county comprehensive plan, etc.

  30. Bobby Kolbe

    O K
    Land values in area go down
    Assessed values on Ranch land go down
    Home owners property pays higher taxes
    Pipeline Co land has less commercial value and pays less taxes
    Nice move