Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The latest "bizaar" chapter in the "Architectural Rape' of the Evelyn Baskin Mansion in Avondale

Many of you may recall the controversy surrounding 4008 Rose Hill In Avondale. There was a “tag sale’ to be held by a local Auction company which was off after it was reported here, then on, and residents reported that the Leaded glass windows were removed. many architectural items had been advertised as part of this sale and the Preservation community feared a repeat of the Werk Fiasco where rare light fixtures and tile were sold off. As it turned out history did repeat itself and original items to the construction of this historic house were removed .

Since then the house has been sold. And a "tag sale' took place. In today’s email the controversy surrounding the “architectural rape’ of 4008 Rose Hill has surfaced as the new owner has been approached by someone offering to sell him the windows back for 32,000.00 claiming he ‘bought’ these items at the sale.

The property at the time was subject to a foreclosure filing, in estate, and in a “technical legal limbo”.

I just found out about this today because the latest owner posted a comment on the original blog and I have comment moderation on my blog to prevent spammers. You can see the full comment here.

The latest chapter in the saga of one of Avondale’s Grand mansion.

As we have all seen, some banks are now legally prosecuting prior owners of property who remove ‘attached assets” of a house (furnaces, appliances, hot tubs and such) as these are considered built in to the property and normally conveyed as part of the sale. Since the foreclosure sale of the Evelyn Baskin  mansion to US Bank, the property has changed hands twice according to the Hamilton county auditors office. The new owner clearly is looking for advice on a direction to pursue.

The 'offer' to 'sell' items that were clearly  removed from the house when it had a foreclosure filing raises certain legal and ethical issues. It is doubtful that the current owner of the house has any legal standing to pursue a legal action against the current 'owner' of the salvage. the only people who 'might' have standing would be US BANK as the original filer of the foreclosure. On  the other hand there is evidence to 'suggest' that the salvage  which was 'bought' at a tag sale  by the person offering to sell it "Might' have been illegally sold. The person selling this could be guilty of trying to sell, 'stolen property" or could be charged with receiving 'stolen property". Likewise, the latest owner of the house , were they to buy this property could be guilty of receiving stolen property even though that property was the actual original "property' of the residence.

Clearly the reason the current owner  of Rose Hill is being approached is that most legitimate antique and salvage dealers would not touch this stuff with a 10 foot pole because of the 'legality' of how it was obtained. 
So I know there are some retired attorneys and few active attorneys out there, who read this blog, who might guess an opinion, not to mention Preservationist who probably have a "moral view' of what should happen so let the discussion begin. 

I would venture the owner need to approach the prosecutor and ask if in the opinion of the prosecutor that a crime was in fact committed. That would be my first step. If the person 'offering to sell" these items purchased them at a  "tag sale"? who was the recipient of the funds and did that person have "legal standing' to sell and receive those funds , since the property was in an estate due to the owners death, and in legal foreclosure. Did the person who benefited from the 'original tag sale" report this as income to the IRS? I wonder?. 

It also raises the question, should Cincinnati have tougher laws, like many cities that require persons selling architectural salvage be able to prove ownership and that antique dealers, salvage operators and such must take steps to ascertain legal 'ownership' of property being offered for sale? 

1 comment:

M. Clinton said...

Something similar happened in Minneapolis and we sent out the alarms through the preservation community here. Someone did some really good sleuthing and discovered that TCF held the mortgage holder. We alerted TCF and by the end of that day, TCF had seized possession of the property, changed the locks, and literally had a security guard standing at the front door. If the mortgage is not satisfied, I would contact the mortgage holder and inform them if a house is being stripped for the value of its parts. That strategy worked quite well in MPLS!