and some high points.
Here's a totally different creation story, equally true, drawn from a fuller set of facts: Denny Rehberg is a fourth-generation Montana real estate speculator and subdivider.
Prominent speculators and developers, not ranchers, bought the "ranch" land that Jack Rehberg sold in the 1970s - another indication that the land wasn't long-term agricultural. Just as A.J. Rehberg had been shrewd in assembling the real estate, the family held onto the land that was most valuable for subdivisions - more than 4,000 acres in the area closest to the airport, the rim and downtown (the best for development) as well as an area to the west, where another road cuts through a different break in the rim. So the Rehbergs could have held onto A.J.'s old log house and the house where Denny was raised, had they not decided to shift more fully from ranching to real estate.
Records of the Rehbergs' leases of the state land mingled with their ranchland indicate that they've also subleased that grass to other ranchers most years since the 1980s. "After he was elected to Congress (in 2000), Rehberg loaned the goats to other Montana ranchers on a kind of animal share-cropping arrangement common in agriculture," the Gazette reported during his 2010 campaign. Shortly after that campaign ended, Rehberg sold off his goat herd, and now, once again, he's leasing the grass to other ranchers.
The recession has been a drag on sales and prices, but even so, the Gazette estimated last February that the Rehbergs' land and lots were worth at least $7 million at current prices, and two or three times that much if the market recovers. (In comparison, Jon Tester's farm and other assets are worth about $1.2 million, the Gazette said, and his land has little or no value for anything but farming