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Some pay taxes just before auction deadline

June 06, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

The list of properties up for auction in Washington County Tuesday because of unpaid tax debts has shrunk in recent weeks.

As of Friday, there were 447 properties on the list, down from 543 on May 27.

The Washington County treasurer’s office did not have an update on the number after Monday afternoon’s payment deadline passed.

Washington County’s annual tax sale will be Tuesday at 9 a.m. behind the county office building at 35 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

Each year, the county holds an auction to sell properties for which tax bills have not been paid.

On Monday, Demcore Development paid its tax debt on several downtown Hagerstown properties.

Demcore Development’s president, Mike Deming, said Monday afternoon that the company had paid up on all but one property, 13-17 S. Potomac St., next to The Maryland Theatre. The company still was deciding what to do with that property, he said.

Last year, many of the same Demcore properties were on the list, but the company also paid its debts shortly before the auction.

Two Demcore properties were sold at auction last year, but the company reclaimed them by paying off the debts later.

Owners can redeem, or reclaim, their properties by paying the debt before a judge signs a final order.

Vinayaka Missions America University’s tax debt on its property on Downsville Pike also was paid Monday.

Vinayaka, which is based in India, bought the former Allegheny Energy headquarters and 45 acres in 2008 for $8.5 million.

The company promised to offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs, a hospital and a trauma center, but none of that happened and the property went back on the market.

Syd Machat, a commercial real estate broker who worked with Vinayaka on the original purchase, said he has heard from prospective buyers. “We’ve had some bites that just didn’t materialize,” he said.

Also on the list are 61 properties belonging to Fairmount Real Estate Services LLC in the Hagers Crossing development in Hagerstown’s West End and 36 parcels belonging to Poplar Square LLC, part of the Linwood Hollow development off Burhans Boulevard.

The highest-valued property on the list is in the Cortland Park development on Little Elliott Drive, near Leitersburg Pike and Eastern Boulevard. The assessment is listed in the tax sale ad as $15.94 million.

The tax debts on the Fairmount, Poplar Square and Cortland Park properties had not been paid as of Monday’s deadline.

Representatives for those projects couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

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