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City investigating land deal

August 18, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Hagerstown city officials are probing a land sale after some City Council members raised questions over possible violations of an agreement between the city and a land owner, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said Tuesday.

Questions arose recently over the sale of the former Delta Hosiery building at 66-70 W. Washington St.

In February, officials questioned why renovation at the building was stalled. At the time, city officials said there was an agreement to refurbish the building dating back to the transfer of the property.

In 1996, the city bought the building from Groh Realty Co. using federal grant money for $155,000, according to previous news reports.

In 1999, the City Council agreed to sell the property to local developer Richard McCleary's company, EB Limited Partnership, for $40,000. There were discussions that another $300,000 might be invested in the building.

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But major renovations never happened. In June, Mohammad Azadi bought the property for $145,000, according to state tax records on the Internet.

The building, also known as the Jacob Swope House, was the target of a number of state tax credits announced earlier this month by the governor's office. The project would receive $112,000 in tax credits.

Zimmerman said there is a meeting planned Tuesday between city officials and an attorney over the matter, and further information will be presented to the council afterward.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer suggested that it be taken up in executive - or closed - session.

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