cows

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PASCO - The Capital Press reports that Farmland Reserve Inc., a real estate subsidiary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has the highest bid in the pursuit to acquire liquidated Easterday Farms properties throughout the Columbia Basin, including Othello.

The runner-up in the bid was Bill Gates’s 100 LLC, which had a bid come in at $208 million, according to records obtained by the Capital Press.

Farmland Reserve appears poised to buy several Easterday Farms which include Goose Gap Farm, River Farm, Cox Farm, and Farm Manager House.

Earlier this year, Cody Easterday, his wife, and mother reportedly filed bankruptcy after accusations came to light about him bilking Tyson Foods out of $244 million in a ghost cattle scheme. Easterday pleaded guilty to billing Tyson for cattle that didn’t exist.

The 49-year-old was charged with wire-fraud and now faces up to 20 years in prison. Easterday will be sentenced on Aug. 4.

The auction for the Easterday properties was conducted via videoconference on June 17 between five qualified bidders.

Easterday Ranches and Farms was founded by Cody’s grandpa in 1959.