Land transaction raises many questions

 

 

Mar. 19, 2013  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

 

Opinion

 

Too good to be true 

If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.

That may be the lesson officials in Plymouth Township are internalizing as they realize the great “deal” they authorized for the purchase of 323 acres of land last year was, in fact, too good to be true. Particularly since the real owner of the property, the City of Detroit, filed an affidavit with the Wayne County Registrar of Deeds in January, in the first step to reclaim 190 acres of the property, which was erroneously included in the sale of land to the township due to some mistakes in the township assessor’s office.

This action leaves the township with 133 acres of land, about 77 of which is in a flood plain or is a declared wetland, for which officials spent $606,000 of taxpayers’ money.

Obviously, the big plans for an industrial or technical park at the site of the old Detroit House of Corrections is going to be an uphill battle, waged through swampland and mud in an insect and reptile infested bog if it is to be built on the current parcel the township owns. This isn’t prime property, by any stretch.

We are the first to admit that mistakes happen. We face ours on an almost weekly basis, but the failure to properly record the owner- ship of these two separate parcels, which seems to have been obvious, is puzzling, at best. When the tax bills were not paid, it seems a bit curious that someone would not have realized the error, either the corporation, Demco 54, that was being billed for taxes on both parcels, or someone in the town- ship or county offices when the tax revenue didn’t arrive. We cannot pretend to understand the systems and procedures followed, but the office of the Wayne County Treasurer has said very clearly that the error is with the township and that all information used in preparing the tax bills, foreclosure notices and the eventual sale of the property came from Plymouth Township.

It is also curious, we think, to realize that this filing error resulted in the township being offered this huge parcel of land integral to the site proposed for the futuristic technology park at such a bargain rate at a foreclosure tax sale from the county.

The two parcels were on the tax rolls at one time for $16 million, so $606,000 certainly must have seemed like quite a bargain to the township board of trustees and administration.

Almost too good to be true. |News Plymouth Michigan

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