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Foreclosure avoided on ex-Delphi properties

WARREN — The man promising to bring back industry to the buildings once home to Delphi staved off foreclosure proceedings Monday by paying the minimum amount of back taxes on the properties needed to start a payment plan with the Trumbull County Treasurer’s Office.

Christopher Alan is owner of Dorian Capital Investments Inc. and Raider Trading Limited LLC — the companies the properties were purchased under, and the CEO of Dasher Lawless, the company manufacturing components of Auto Parkit technology — a California-based company working to make parking garage systems that can automatically store cars and retrieve them for people at shopping and residential complexes.

Alan paid $39,560 Monday — about 10 percent of the nearly $400,000 in back taxes owed on the properties, said Treasurer Sam Lamancusa. Before the payment, Alan owed about $391,881.

In 2018, Alan’s companies spent $315,000 to acquire 12 properties on Dana Street, Griswold, North Park Avenue and Forest Street.

Of that, he spent $175,000 to buy eight Dana Street properties from Maximus III Properties when that company’s owner went through federal bankruptcy proceedings. The properties have an assessed collective value of $886,100 from a 2017 assessment, down from a collective value of $992,000 in a 2011 assessment.

His company also agreed to buy 650 Griswold Ave. for $15,000 from Maximus during Sergio DiPaolo’s bankruptcy proceedings. The property had a value of $351,000 in a 2018 assessment, down from $573,900 in 2011.

As part of the deal, Alan agreed in the bankruptcy filings to pay the back taxes owed on the properties and entered a payment plan. But Alan did not fulfill the terms of the initial payment plan.

Lamancusa’s office offered Alan another opportunity to get on a payment plan before entering foreclosure. The deadline for the initial 10 percent payment was Dec. 1, but the treasurer’s office accepted the payment Monday because Dec. 1 fell on a Sunday and the office was closed Thursday and Friday last week for the Thanksgiving holiday, Lamancusa said.

Alan did not make the payments as spelled out in the first payment plan in March, and he could have made the payments in August to avoid the September letter threatening the possibility of foreclosure, Lamancusa said, but he didn’t.

Now, Alan cannot default again because once a person is in a second payment plan after defaulting on the first, there are no third chances, Lamancusa said, and foreclosure proceedings begin if the payments are not received by the March deadline.

Alan said previously he didn’t make the payments because he was hoping the properties would lose value in a reassessment and lead to a smaller tax bill, though that wouldn’t have eliminated or altered the back taxes Alan agreed to pay when he made the purchases out of bankruptcy court.

Alan said he was waiting for the Trumbull County Auditor’s office to do a reassessment before committing to paying the taxes by the deadline, but Auditor Adrian Biviano told him the properties were properly assessed when the process was last completed and the county will not change the value of the assessments this year.

The only option Alan has if he’d like to convince the county to lower the valuation is to present evidence to the Trumbull County Board of Revisions proving the property isn’t worth as much as the last assessment. The board only accepts those applications from January through March, and the owner must provide proof the property is worth less, not just offer a plea or negotiation.

Every six years, the county does a full reassessment of property values, and does a smaller assessment in the third year — 2020.

It is unclear if the work Alan is doing to his Warren properties will increase the value of the properties when the assessment is done next year. When assessors looked at the property to see if the value should be lowered earlier this year, the assessors found the properties were properly appraised, Biviano said in October. Though Alan said previously he thought the properties should be lowered in value, typically buildings increase in value when improvements are made.

Alan owns other properties in Warren that are current on property taxes.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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