Published July 29. 2013 4:00AM
Norwich - A tax auction sale of a commercial building at 59-61 Broadway is scheduled for Saturday at noon to satisfy about $35,000 in back taxes and escalating legal fees caused when the owner twice received court extensions that delayed the auction by nearly six months.
The building is owned by Bishop Taylor, a business partner of Norwich businessman Zane Megos, who is listed in a mortgage foreclosure document on the property as Taylor's "agent and representative." Megos faces several larceny and related charges in criminal court for allegedly taking rental deposits from tenants for apartments in Norwich and New London that never became available.
Norwich filed a tax foreclosure lawsuit on 59-61 Broadway Sept. 6 in New London Superior Court. Two separate mortgage holders, Edward Cohen and Howard Goldstein, also had pending mortgage foreclosure lawsuits on the property. The city's tax bills and interest are first in line to be paid in any foreclosure auction.
New London Superior Court Judge Emmet Cosgrove twice agreed to delay the auction since February despite objections by the city and Cohen. Taylor's attorney, Kenneth Leary, asked for extensions twice claiming the owner had a buyer for the property, each time for a price far exceeding the $100,000 appraised value.
Each time, the city objected to the delay, pointing out errors in the purchase and sale agreements submitted with the requests - the first sale document listed a different property address, 75 Fourth St., owned by Megos' Meyers' and Bailey Investment Co. and listed a sale price of $202,500.
The second requested extension in April made no mention of what happened to the first supposed buyer and listed a different buyer with a purchase and sale agreement for $155,000. In that document, Taylor signed as the buyer rather than the seller.
The city also objected because each auction delay added $5,000 to the legal fees the city would have to pay to the court-appointed Committee of Sale, attorney John T. Asselin. The city's attorney Aimee Wickless said those fees now total $15,000 and will be part of the $35,000 the city plans to bid to cover the debt owed to the city by the owner.
Mortgage holder Cohen, who would be paid only after the city's bills are resolved, also objected to the extensions, calling the first alleged sales contract questionable given the appraised value and the stated sale price of twice that total.
Cohen filed a foreclosure against Taylor and Megos last July for $50,000 mortgage on 59-61 Broadway.
"No extension of time should have been given in the past or in the future without immediate payment by Taylor of the committee fees and the accumulated interest to the city of Norwich," Cohen's objection stated. "The risk of these debts rightfully belongs to the defendant Taylor."
Cosgrove granted both extensions in February and in April, scheduling the final auction for Aug. 3 at noon at the building. In his ruling, Cosgrove stipulated that no further extensions would be granted without a real estate contract that includes a 10 percent down payment "and a guarantee those funds can be used to satisfy the previously incurred expenses of the committee."