Man sues to block auction Property ownership is under dispute

March 04, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

A Mount Airy man has asked a Carroll Circuit Court judge to block the auction today of a Marriottsville home in a dispute over whether he or the state owns the property.

A lawyer representing plaintiff Michael T. Boyer filed the suit yesterday and asked Judge Raymond Beck Sr. to enjoin the state from selling the property at a 1:30 p.m. auction today.

Judge Beck declined to issue the injunction pending arguments at a court hearing this morning.

The state Department of Natural Resources had authorized the sale of the property at 1901 Arrington Road.

State officials were sent copies of the suit late yesterday via fax.

James W. Dunmyer, assistant secretary for public lands in DNR, declined to comment on the suit.

If Judge Beck grants the requested temporary injunction, he would schedule a hearing on an interlocutory injunction that would prohibit sale of the property until the suit is settled.

"If the judge orders the injunction, no sale can take place," said Charles O. Fisher Jr., Mr. Boyer's attorney. "That is the only issue the judge will decide today."

Despite Mr. Boyer's action, a spokesman for the state Office of Real Estate said the sale would proceed on schedule.

Mr. Boyer, whose wife, Linda, is the former Mount Airy mayor, claims that he put an $8,000 deposit on the 2 1/2 -story Arrington Road home and 3.62 acres of land at a similar auction Nov. 14, 1987.

His $112,000 bid was the highest of about 40 received.

According to his lawsuit, the state Board of Public Works approved the sale two months later.

That sale still has not gone to settlement.

Mr. Boyer, in his lawsuit, claims that he has tried to meet all state requirements for a settlement but both sides have "extended" settlement "for various reasons."

State officials told Mr. Boyer in September that he was "in default" because he had not settled on the purchase, that they intended to sell the property and that he would forfeit his deposit.

Richard Betters, a state real estate agent, opened the house for inspection Tuesday.

Mr. Betters said he planned to be there early today to review details of the auction for potential buyers and to allow them to inspect the property.

Mr. Fisher, Mr. Boyer's attorney, said, "The state will not be able to transfer title of the home" if the auction is held.

"Resale of the property will cause immediate, substantial and irreparable harm" to Mr. Boyer, his lawsuit says.

Mr. Boyer claims he would lose his deposit plus a "$17,000 investment in the maintenance, preservation and stabilization of the property."

Mr. Boyer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

His wife said she would not comment on the suit.

Mr. Boyer has leased the home to Connie Lawson for the past four years for $500 a month.

The suit claims that the state knew a tenant was living there.

"I called DNR last summer and they told me they were shocked that someone was living in the home," said Ms. Lawson, a single mother who shares the home with her four children.

She said she has made many repairs to the century-old home, often in lieu of rent.

Since last summer, she said, she has paid the same rent to DNR. Ms. Lawson has done some research on the property, which she said the state purchased in the 1950s for parkland.

She had asked DNR to consider her as a curator for the property.

"They just want to sell it for the money," she said. "With a curatorship, they would get upkeep but no money."

Advertisements in The Sun and other newspapers stated that the property will be sold "as is" with historic preservation easements.

Richard Brand, the Maryland Historic Trust's easement administrator, said that since the property was advertised last month he has received several calls from prospective buyers.

Ms. Lawson called the sale a "buyer-beware" situation.

"The wood is rotting; the roof is leaking, causing water damage in every room, and there is no weatherization," she said.

Still, she has called the house her home.

She said she is waiting to learn if she will have to move out.

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