Owner blocks tax sale for Spitzer Building

$191,174 check arrives at 11th hour


For the second time in four months, the owner of two foreclosed buildings in downtown Toledo has come forward at the last minute with money to call off a tax delinquency sale.

The sheriff's sale of the landmark Spitzer Building was canceled today after its owner, Koray Ergur, appeared at the Lucas County Treasurer's Office on Wednesday with a cashier's check for $191,174 to pay back taxes and court costs owed on the 10-story building.

In 2009 Mr. Ergur bought the 10-story Spitzer Building at 520 Madison Ave. and the 17-story Nicholas Building nearby. They have been the focus of a lengthy foreclosure action in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. In July, Mr. Ergur showed up at the county auditor’s office a day before the sheriff’s auction of the Nicholas Building and paid off $226,129 in unpaid property taxes and court costs.

Mr. Ergur, as head of his EPE Spitzer Building Co., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, citing debts of $11.2 million and unspecified assets between $100,000 and $500,000. Because of the bankruptcy, Mr. Ergur could not use his personal money to pay the taxes. It was unclear who provided Mr. Ergur with the cashier's checks for the payments.

The Lucas County Land Bank has been working with Patrice Spitzer, the court-appointed receiver, and the Spitzer Building Co., which holds the $800,000 note on the property, to gain control of the 117-year-old structure.

The Land Bank and Mrs. Spitzer told tenants and business owners in September that the building will close on Dec. 1 and they must move out, based somewhat on the building’s 30 percent occupancy and the costs to operate the aging structure.

Last week, Tracy Henderson, an attorney representing Mr. Ergur, sought a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to stop the sheriff’s sale. Judge William Orrick denied the request Tuesday for lack of jurisdiction.

David Mann, Land Bank president, said the agency had been prepared to take over the building had the required $266,227 minimum bid not been met at auction.

Scott Ciolek, representing the receiver, said Mr. Ergur’s investors could have bought the property free and clear without liens had they shown up at today’s auction and met the minimum bid requirement. “Now all of those people will have to wait until the mortgage foreclosure sale, which we hope will be scheduled in January,” Mr. Ciolek said

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.