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Taxpayers off the hook as Blakeslee buys state vehicle

July 29, 2011 |  5:49 pm

Republican state Sen. Sam Blakeslee announced Friday that he'll reach into his own pocket to buy the luxury vehicle originally purchased with public funds for his state job, including the commute between Sacramento and his San Luis Obispo district.

After buying the $39,975 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid with heated leather seats –- one of the most expensive choices by a senator during these tough economic times, it turned out -– Blakeslee apparently suffered buyer's remorse and wanted to drive his "family car" instead. But the dealership wouldn't take the Lincoln back.

So the Senate Rules Committee got stuck with the vehicle, using it as a high-end taxi to shuttle lawmakers to and from the airport. A quick resale was ruled out because, like all new vehicles, the Lincoln lost a considerable amount of value as soon it was driven off the dealer's lot.

"To ensure a responsible resolution and no cost to the taxpayer, Blakeslee has personally bought the car from Senate Rules at the original purchase price," his spokeswoman, Erin Shaw, wrote in an email to The Times on Friday.

Blakeslee is using only "personal funds" for the purchase, Shaw said, adding that no campaign cash or other third-party contributions are involved.

-- Jack Dolan