County forecloses on lakeside property

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Cass County government may soon find itself in possession of a valuable lakeside resource.

County Treasurer Linda Irwin announced that she has recently foreclosed on a piece of property on Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, a house that is estimated to be worth between $3 and $4 million. Irwin announced this development during her presentation of this year’s forfeiture report to the county board of commissioners on Thursday.

According to the treasurer, the county was able to foreclose on the property due to the years of delinquent back taxes the previous owners owe, worth around $100,000.

“It’s a done deal,” Irwin said. “They’ve tried to send us a check for $100,000, and I’ve returned it. I’ve had my council look at it, and we’ve done everything right. We didn’t make any mistakes; they did.”

The property could go on sale in auction as soon as September, depending on whether or not litigation is filed concerning ownership, Irwin said.

“This is a major asset,” she said. “This probably won’t happen again while I’m treasurer. Therefore, we need to collectively do some brainstorming.”

If the county is allowed to proceed with public auction of the residence, it will be held separately from normal tax auctions, with heavy advertising and open houses held prior to the sale, Irwin said.

Another option the county has with the property is leave it off the market, and instead acquire it for governmental use, such as conferences. The county can purchase the property by paying the $100,000 worth of back taxes on the property, Irwin said.

“We can sit on it, and decide what we want to do with it, or we can move it forward to auction,” Irwin said. “Those are things we have to decide.”