County auction fast and furious


Dozens of properties were sold during the annual Warren County upset and judicial sales on Monday.

County Solicitor Rene Johnson acted as auctioneer, introducing each property and listing the minimum bid.

Some properties sold for the minimum. Some sold for much more. And others didn’t sell at all.

The upset sale includes properties that are three-years behind on taxes. The price starts at the amount of delinquent taxes. Once a bid is offered, an auction can ensue.

Sometimes, the final price is dramatically higher than the original. On Monday, two bidders warred over a piece of Pittsfield Township property. In increments of $100 and $500, the price rose from $1,293.76 to a final bid of $20,000.

As the bids go up, those who have claims on the properties get their money.

“We have to find who the lien-holders are,” Warren County Treasurer Dennis Munksgard said.

Those groups, municipalities, banks and others, are paid back in an order determined by law. Any money left over goes to the county.

The property with the highest upset price – $71,519.01 – did not sell. The owner of the first ward City of Warren property was listed as Geothermal Energy Systems LLC.

Properties belonging to Warren Business District Coalition and Liberty Street West Associates also did not sell.

Those properties will appear on the judicial sale list next year.

At judicial sale, the minimum sale price is based on the county’s level of cost. Bids above that amount pay any taxes that are due, then proceed under much the same formula as the upset sale.

About 50 parcels were on that list this year. Some of them were removed from the list in time for Monday’s sale. Others were purchased at the minimum price.

Fierce bidding, involving at least four different parties, resulted in one property escalating from $12,730.24 to $49,000 over 44 bids.

Payment, in cash or by cashier’s check, must be made in full at the time of the sale.

After one auction grew to $15,000, and the buyer stated he was under the impression he owed a 10 percent payment, that auction started again. The new winning bid was $8,000.

Munksgard made an announcement that payment in full was required.

“You have to pay the amount you bid here, no,” he noted.

Properties on the judicial sale list that did not sell go into repository.

“The tax claim bureau becomes the trustee for the property,” Johnson said.

The list of repository properties should be available on Oct. 1, Munksgard said.

Anyone who wants to bid on a repository property may turn in their bid to the county. The minimum bid is $250. Bids are then forwarded to the taxing bodies – the school district, the county, and the municipality – for approval. If all three bodies approve the bid, it is accepted. If not, the property remains in the hands of the county.

Almost 100 additional properties will be offered at a follow-up upset sale on Monday, Oct. 28.

Those properties were held back from Monday’s sale.