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Published: Friday, 11/30/2012

Historic Spitzer, Nicholas structures’ owner lands in jail; Alleged fire-code violations cited

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The owner of the downtown Nicholas and Spitzer buildings was arrested Thursday and held on $25,000 bond for failure to obey fire department orders.

Koray Ergur, a California developer, was being held in the Lucas County jail pending a pretrial hearing today in Toledo Housing Court.

Mr. Ergur was in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for a civil matter regarding the Nicholas Building, after which he was arrested and booked.

“Judge C. Allen Mc-Connell was made aware and Mr. Ergur was arrested for violations in housing court,” said Toledo spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei. “There was at least one code violation attached to his property and he failed to appear in court, so he was arrested. Because we were aware Mr. Ergur had outstanding bench warrants, the common pleas court and Judge McConnell were advised, the warrants were served, and an arrest was made.”

Details of the fire department violations were not available Thursday night.

The 17-story Nicholas Building, once a hub of activity and a financial stronghold of downtown Toledo, has been vacant several years and groundwater has flooded the basement because pumps that formerly kept it dry are without power. Once home to Fifth Third Bank, the area where bank customers formerly made deposits or received cash is now home to chipping paint and peeled drywall.

There are foreclosure proceedings for both buildings, on which the Spitzer Building Co. is the first lien holder.

Mr. Ergur purchased the Nicholas Building in 2009 for $313,600. He bought the adjacent, 10-story Spitzer Building the same year for $800,000, and owes back taxes on both of more than $400,000, according to court records.

Patrice Spitzer in August asked a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge to order the landmark downtown Toledo buildings’ sale, saying that without immediate action, their deterioration would continue. That motion was withdrawn Thursday. “The people who are potential buyers for this would prefer the judicial sale to come after the judgments,”said Scott Ciolek, attorney for the Spitzer Building Co.“We feel that more people would be interested in bidding on the building after a judicial sale in the normal course rather than an early judicial sale, which is a rarely used remedy.”

The hearing in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Thursday was a motion for Mr. Ergur to pay the Spitzer Building Co.’s attorney fees. Judge Gary Cook ordered him to pay $1,600 in legal fees for failing to attend previous pretrial conferences.



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