County tax sale scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday


WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Red Byrd Restaurant, a former mayor's home, and about two dozen properties connected with developers Stephen and Iris Sagi are among those up for auction Tuesday because of unpaid taxes.

A total of 190 properties were on the list to be auctioned as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, the deadline for owners to pay taxes and keep their properties out of the auction, Washington County Treasurer Todd Hershey said.

The tax collector's auction is held once a year. Those who purchase properties have the right to foreclose on them six months later.

The minimum price is the amount of taxes owed, plus interest and penalties, which is in the low thousands of dollars for most on the list.


Owners can redeem, or reclaim, properties by paying the debt up to two years after the sale -- or later, if a judge hasn't signed a final order, according to Washington County Treasurer Todd L. Hershey. The high bidder would be reimbursed.

Typically, 95 percent to 98 percent of tax-auction properties are redeemed, Hershey said.

People buy property at tax sales for a variety of reasons, including to collect the interest that is paid on the buyer's deposit, Hershey said.

This year's list includes at least 24 properties connected with Stephen and Iris Sagi, with a total assessed value of more than $4 million.

Also on the list is the Red Byrd Restaurant in Keedysville and the Hagerstown home of former mayor Stephen T. Sager.

Reached by phone Monday evening, Sager said he was "full center in the great recession." At the start of the recession, he lost his job as a deputy county administrator for a county in South Carolina and he remains unemployed despite submitting applications for at least 200 jobs, he said.

He said his wife died in December and his house in South Carolina was foreclosed upon.

"It's been a very tough two years," he said. "I'm in a big, deep hole."

Neither the Sagis nor the Red Byrd's owner responded immediately to messages left for them Monday evening.

Several Demcore Development properties were originally placed on the list, but many were removed Monday after last-minute tax payments.

Two Demcore properties that remained on the list after Monday's deadline were 29-31 E. Washington St. and 6-16 W. Washington St. The 6-16 W. Washington St. parcel has the second-highest required minimum bid -- $17,284.

The property with the highest required minimum bid is 920 W. Washington St., owned by Westshire LLC, which is assessed at about $1.4 million and has a minimum bid of $27,522.49.

More than 300 properties were removed from the list in the last few weeks as debts were settled, with more than 100 of those removed Monday.

The Academy Theatre Banquet & Conference Center in Hagerstown and the Knights Inn motel on Mason-Dixon Road were both on the list, but the owners recently paid their tax debt.

The tax collector's auction is scheduled to be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the rear of the County Office Building at 35 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

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