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Attorneys Assist Lucas County Land Reutilization Corporation in Acquiring Historic Downtown Properties

8/5/20

Eastman & Smith members Mark W. Sandretto and Jared J. Lefevre successfully assisted the Lucas County Land Reutilization Corporation, commonly known as the Lucas County Land Bank, in litigating its right to acquire several properties in the City of Toledo’s downtown central business district, including the historic Spitzer and Nicholas Buildings. 

After acquiring the properties around 2008, the owner permitted the properties to fall into vacancy and disrepair, failed to undertake any meaningful development, and failed to pay a host of creditors, including utilities and the taxing authority.  The owner also endeavored to cloud title to the properties with fraudulent mortgages and leases designed to obscure ownership and responsibility for upkeep.  

The Land Bank hoped to acquire the properties as part of a broader public-private partnership to continue the revitalization of downtown Toledo.  After numerous attempts to purchase the properties were rebuffed, the Land Bank embarked upon a strategy in partnership with the taxing authority to acquire the properties through litigation premised, in part, upon the Land Bank’s standing as an assignee of certain lien creditors.  While taxing authority pursued its foreclosure rights, the Land Bank’s attorneys simultaneously argued that the insolvent owner had transferred ownership of the properties to other entities in an effort to defraud creditors and that title to the property should be quieted with respect to the fraudulent mortgages and leases.  As a result of the Land Bank’s efforts, title was quieted, the transfers set aside, and the properties were subjected to a receivership, allowing them to be inspected and preserved pending the outcome of the taxing authorities’ foreclosure efforts.  The Land Bank’s and the taxing authority’s efforts culminated in the Land Bank receiving title to the properties, facilitating long overdue efforts to rehabilitate and develop the historic structures for the benefit of all Toledoans.

Mr. Sandretto assists financial institutions and creditors of all sizes with respect to creditor’s rights and bankruptcy matters.  He also represents small and medium sized businesses, insurers and their insureds with respect to their litigation needs.  Mr. Lefevre represents a broad and diverse range of clients encompassing individuals, large institutions, manufacturers and professional services in litigation, bankruptcy matters and mediation.

For questions, please contact Mr. Sandretto or Mr. Lefevre.

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   Disclaimer: This alert has been prepared by Eastman & Smith Ltd. for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney/client relationship.