Group questions worth of senator’s vacation home

A new appraisal more than doubles the value of U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd’s Irish cottage, a vacation home that is the subject of an ethics complaint by a conservative group that questions if it was really a gift.

Dodd spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said the Connecticut senator and his wife decided to have the property appraised because they felt it was time to update the information for Dodd’s financial disclosure report to the Senate.

A conservative government watchdog group, Judicial Watch, filed an ethics complaint against Dodd in April, questioning whether the price Dodd originally paid for the cottage amounted to a gift from businessman Edward "Bucky" Kessinger.

Dodd and Kessinger bought the cottage in 1994 for $160,000, with Dodd contributing $12,000 for one-third of the downpayment. The Dodds bought out Kessinger in 2002 and refinanced the mortgage, paying Kessinger $122,000 plus $5,000 in closing costs.

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