News is dim for bilked condo owners

June 30, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

About 30 members of four Hampstead condominium associations heard last night that hope is dimming for their recovery of about $98,000 stolen by convicted thief Otis K. Comstock, who managed their properties.

Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman called the meeting last night at North Carroll High School to tell the associations their options.

He said association members could take over management of the units or allow bank foreclosures.

"We're not going to get ahead," said Robert R. Rill, president of Hampstead Properties Condominium Inc., one association that was bilked. "We are losing our shirts, big-time."

Comstock pleaded guilty in November to one count of felony theft for stealing money from the associations' savings accounts and certificates of deposit, and falsifying records to cover them. He was sentenced to 60 days' work release on an eight-year suspended prison term.

A restitution plan in his plea bargain called for the sale of four Hampstead condominiums he owned.

The condo associations were to get about $50,000.

But last night, Wesley D. Blakeslee, the properties' court-appointed trustee, said none of the properties had sold and only one currently has a paying tenant.

Mr. Blakeslee -- Comstock's defense attorney -- also said he would seek a fee in Carroll Circuit Court for managing the units. He declined to say how much money he would request, but said his fee would be paid before the condo associations would be repaid.

After the meeting, Mr. Hickman said that if the banks foreclose on the properties, the associations would be unlikely to recover any money from them.

"All we would like to do is get our money back," said Jack Phelps, resident manager of Hampstead Valley Garden Condominiums Inc., which he said was owed $32,712 by Comstock.

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