Council was presented with some options to off load the ill-gotten goods from former village administrator Joe Johnson.
Village administrator John Martin brought a proposal from Ronald Weade of Weade Realtors and Auctions to conduct the sale of the rest of the repossessed items.
“We approached him to explore the possibility of him managing a sale for us,” said Martin. “We thought a neutral party would be a little bit better, so we asked for him to give us a proposal.”
Weade recommended they seek an auction on a Monday or a Thursday, as opposed to a weekend. Due to better weather, the selection of people would be a little bit worse.
The proposed auction would likely be early June due to Weade’s availability. Martin would catalogue and list all of the items.
Weade would enter the list into his computer and handle the sale, which would be both online and in person.
“Afterwards he just writes us a check of what the proceeds are,” said Martin.
Weade’s estimate is between $30,000 and $50,000 for the sale of the items, including the cars, weapons and tools. He would collect a 6 percent commission for the vehicles and 10 percent for all other items.
The proposal also recommends an “absolute auction” where everything would sell to the highest bidder.
Council member Diane Spradlin asked for the finance committee to discuss proposing reserve prices for some items, specifically mentioning the cars and the motorcycle, likely the highest ticket items repossessed from Johnson.
“Obviously we don’t want to sell some things for a dollar,” she said.
Martin said he has a preliminary spreadsheet of items based off of a list the state used as a base of what to expect when they seized the items from Johnson. He currently has some values and potential reserves, as well as items to destroy, such as financial documents and items to take back as they were directly stolen from the village by Johnson.
Martin thinks a final list based on what was actually seized could be ready by the end of the week. He told The Press he would include a list of items he thinks would be useful for the village to council as well, but highlighted that it was entirely their decision.
“They could decide to sell it all, and that’s how we’ll do it,” he said.
Later in his report, he brought forth a potential offer on Johnson’s former Jackson County home, which he felt was reasonable. No indication was given on the amount for the property on 3203 Camba Road, just outside of the city of Jackson.
Last meeting, council voted for the house to be put up for $149,000 and the firm Kelly Wiley Realty to take care of selling the 1,800-square-foot house, in exchange for a 6 percent cut of the sale.
Spradlin noticed the offer was going to expire on May 19, a Friday just before the next council meeting.
She mentioned potentially holding a special meeting, but Law Director Mark Pitstick brought up another idea.
“If I may, you’re having a finance committee meeting on the seventeenth,” said Pitstick. “I would suggest the finance committee make a recommendation to Mr. Martin and allow him to go forward or not.”
Spradlin was skeptical of going forward as committees usually just make general recommendations, but Pitstick assured her this was perfectly acceptable.
“We would [bring it to a vote to all of council] if they accept the offer,” he said. “We will have a resolution based upon the purchase contract.”
Pitstick claimed that a committee going forward with an offer would not be the committee officially accepting it, merely presenting it to the rest of council to vote to sell it.
“What you’re basically doing is telling [Martin] to go forward with a particular purchase agreement,” he said. “That is a decision the finance committee can say ‘yes we’re gonna go forward with that.’ It hasn’t been accepted, it may not be accepted. You may get back with a counter offer.”
The law director added there could be some back and forth potentially between the prospective buyer and Martin on a final offer.
“I’m saying you don’t have a choice, we need to get this thing done,” said Pitstick. “And we’ll have more than enough time to get a resolution in place to actually approve the sale. A purchase agreement is not a proof of sale.”
Out of caution, Finance Chair Rebecca Burns decided with the rest of the committee to hold the finance committee meeting on Wednesday instead, to better prepare in case a special council meeting needs to be convened.
At this meeting, further direction on the auction will be recommended for a future resolution on selling the property as well as recommendations on selling the house.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.
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