Lockport property owner wins lawsuit over city auction - The Buffalo News
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Lockport property owner wins lawsuit over city auction

LOCKPORT – Daryl Ubiles, a Lockport man who sued the city after it rejected two of his winning bids at last year’s tax foreclosure auction and refused to return his deposits, scored a victory in State Supreme Court on Thursday.

Court officials said Justice Frank Caruso granted Ubiles summary judgment – a win without a trial – in the fight over $6,150 in deposits.

Ubiles, who owns four other properties in Lockport, was the winning bidder on 37 Center St. and 185 N. Transit St. in the Oct. 23 auction.

He put down his 20 percent deposits: $4,100 on the Center Street property and $2,050 on the North Transit Street parcel.

But six days later, the City Treasurer’s Office told Ubiles that he had not paid his school tax on one of his existing properties at 422 Clinton St.

Under auction rules, that delinquency entitled the city to reject his bids, keep his deposits and give the auctioned properties to the second-highest bidder.

Ubiles protested that he never received a school tax bill last fall for 422 Clinton St. He paid the $399 tax the same day the city told him of it.

The city said in a court filing that the rules were printed in the auction catalog and publicly announced, and Ubiles signed a notice when he put down his money.

Its attorneys argued that it was up to Ubiles to keep track of his school taxes.

Treasurer Michael E. White said Friday that the Center Street and North Transit Street properties have already been deeded to the second bidder.

He said the practical outcome of Caruso’s ruling probably will be that Ubiles will be refunded his deposits.

Attorneys in the case – A. Angelo DiMillo for Ubiles and Deputy Corporation Counsel Michael E. Benedict for the city – could not be reached Friday.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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