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N4T Investigators: Raul Castro home to be "sold at auction" after scrapped plans for UofA border studies center

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Raul Castro

NOGALES, Ariz. (KVOA) - The historic 1904 home of Arizona's first Latino Governor Raul H. Castro may be put up for auction, after the University of Arizona told the News 4 Tucson Investigators last week that its plans to create a border studies center at the home likely won't happen.

Castro's daughter, Beth Castro told the N4T Investigators that UofA officials met with her after our investigation aired last week and revealed the plan was to sell it at auction. This made Beth very disappointed and furious with the University.

“It pains me because it’s almost like this University is disrespecting my father," Castro said.

She said the officials urged her not to talk with the N4T Investigators so she felt it was the right way to get their attention and to try and stop the home from hitting the auction block.

The home was donated by the Castro family to the University in 2016 shortly after Raul Castro's death. Beth said there was an understanding the home would be used for higher education and the hiring of contractors to renovate the home from Santa Cruz County. Right now none of those expectations have been accomplished.

“I’ll be damned if I allow UofA to get away with this," she said.

The N4T Investigators spoke with several Nogales residents who were disappointed the project has never moved forward. Kip Martin said the home is an important piece of the communities history.

“We all have an emotional connection to the Castros and his governorship and the house itself," he said.

 The UofA said the issue is costs for the renovations. A recent assessment it said showed the costs would be over $2 million.

Beth said she has filed a complaint with the Pima County Attorney's Office to look into how $350,000 in grant money for the project is being spent.

“They were given $350,000 from two different grants so what happened with that money? They never came out and said it’s in an escrow account or it’s here or it’s there," Castro said.

UofA told us that only $100,000 from the grants was earmarked for the Castro home project and it hasn't been spent. They didn't say what happens to the money now.

Beth said she is looking at all her options to stop an auction from happening.

“I feel like I have been used, period," she said.

UofA sent us the following statement:

"We understand the frustration that Beth Castro has shared over this process timeline, and are now working as swiftly as possible to ensure that all available resources are being utilized to support programs and students in Nogales. We share the Castro family’s passion for supporting our border communities, with priority placed on elevating the wellbeing and outlook for the next generation."

A spokesperson directed us to the Board of Regents policy 7-201C which is for the sale of real property.

It says the sale of real property estimated to be worth over $250,000 may only be sold after review of the Finance, Capital and Resources Committee and authorization from the board and then requires a sale at auction.

You can review the policies here: https://www.azregents.edu/policy-manual

Beth said her fight with UofA is only beginning.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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