Niagara County scores major profit in tax foreclosure auction - The Buffalo News

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Niagara County scores major profit in tax foreclosure auction

LOCKPORT – Niagara County made a killing in Saturday’s tax-foreclosure auction.

County Treasurer Kyle R. Andrews was more than happy with the bottom line: 89 parcels sold for a total of just over $1.1 million.

The unpaid taxes that led to the county foreclosures totaled a shade less than $400,000, so the county turned a $706,578 profit on the bidding, a figure which may have been a record and certainly was the highest since Andrews became treasurer in 2010.

“It was a very successful auction. We had over 230 registered bidders,” Andrews said of Saturday morning’s event in the Shawnee Fire Company hall in Wheatfield.

“We look forward to getting these properties back on the tax rolls, and in some cases where there are overgrown lots, getting them cleaned up,” Andrews said.

Last year the auction moved 118 parcels, but the total of the bids was only $731,000, which exceeded the unpaid taxes the county had to write off by $341,783.

In 2011, the county auctioned off 66 properties for a total of $686,675, a figure which beat the total of the unpaid taxes by $278,366. The 2010 “profit” was $257,450 on 113 parcels sold.

This year’s auction rules were altered to bar redemption of properties by the former owners after Aug. 2. In the past, the county was willing to wait until nearly the last minute to allow owners to pay the back taxes and keep their properties.

About 10 properties were saved from the auction block by bankruptcy filings by the owners or other legal objections.

The three highest-priced properties this year all turned out to be single-family split-level homes, and a Niagara Falls attorney was the biggest winner of the day.

Mark D. Grossman won both of the auction’s highest-priced bidding wars. He paid $90,000 for a house on Dana Drive in Lewiston, and $87,000 for a house on Erna Drive in the Town of Lockport.

Grossman said Monday he wasn’t sure what he would do with the houses, but he may resell them.

“We bought them sight unseen on the inside,” Grossman said. He intends to check the houses’ condition before he makes a decision.

“That’s usually the intention, to sell them,” said Grossman, who has won property at previous auctions and resold it.

The Dana Drive house, a 1,744-square-foot split-level house on eight-tenths of an acre, was assessed at $110,300.

The Erna Drive house is a 2,136-square-foot split-level on less than half an acre of land, and was assessed at $134,100.

The third-highest price also was fetched by a split-level house: a 2,683-square-foot home on Cottage Road in Royalton, sold to Julie A. Diel for $85,000.

Sales of commercial property included three vacant two-story brick storefronts.

One, at 29 Main St., Middleport, sold for $12,500 to Carrie A. Tag; a similar building at 8391 State St., Gasport, sold to Olcott Properties for $18,000; and a vacant building at 1678 Quaker Road, Barker, went under the hammer to Michael W. Slomsky for $6,500.

A onetime boat and snowmobile business at 4440 Main St., Gasport, was sold for $40,000 to the McCollum Farm Partnership. And the former Country Cafe at 2853 Niagara Falls Blvd., Wheatfield, was sold along with two small adjoining lots to Shauna L. Amato for a total of $26,000.

The results aren’t official until the County Legislature ratifies the outcome, which is expected to occur at its Sept. 17 meeting.


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