Mount Sterling’s Village Council is in the final steps of accepting a bid on a house acquired from the aftermath of the Joe Johnson trial.
On Friday, council unanimously approved going forward with a purchase agreement to sell the former village administrator’s Jackson County home for $140,118, not including taxes, commission among other closing costs.
The potential buyer is Dylan Newsom, who is looking to purchase the 1,800-square-foot house on 3203 Camba Road, just outside of the city of Jackson.
“The amount of the sale is $140,118 and no more and no less, and he’s agreed,” said Anderson. “If he wants to sell it more with other expenses, he can but we are to receive $140,118. Clear of any costs, prorated, taxes, the whole bit.”
Village Administrator John Martin said he spoke with the realtor and the agreement is stipulated that the village will receive $140,000 out of the sale or else the final agreement would not be signed.
“I made it perfectly clear to them,” said Martin. “It cannot go below $140,000 or we won’t sign anything. I told them we were taking it to council and if I told them that then if it came up at closing as $139,999.99 we would not sign it.”
They also spoke with a banker and he said that as the current agreement is set, the village should receive the amount stipulated.
“It could be a couple hundred more,” he said. “They highballed the taxes and they highballed the closing costs for the title issuance. So the banker thinks it could be another 100 bucks.”
Council members seemed receptive to the agreement.
“The bank can reduce, they have the latitude to reduce closing costs,” said Spradlin. “If something comes up between the bank and the realtor, let them figure it out.”
Council member Dave Timmons appreciated the revenue guarantee.
“So long we get our $140,000 or more,” said Timmons. “We’re not going to take less.”
After negotiations, final closing will be signed off at a later date, as Village Law Director Mark Pitstick advised at the last council meeting.
In April, council voted for the house to be put up for $149,000 with the firm Kelly Wiley Realty, who would take a 6 percent cut of the sale. Johnson paid $180,000 for it just a year ago, but market situations apparently lowered the sale price.
The property was seized after Johnson pleaded guilty in April to stealing money from the village between 2012 and 2016 and only using the village’s credit card for personal purchases, along with other items to go towards the more than $700,000 worth of restitution he owes the village.
Along with the house, Johnson’s purchases included appliances, tools, weapons and several vehicles; including a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, 2013 Chevrolet Cruz, a Dodge Charger and an ATV. All of these were seized and given to the village.
To liquidate the seized items, Martin brought a proposal from Ronald Weade of Weade Realtors and Auctions to conduct the sale to council at the last meeting.
The proposal says he would collect a 6 percent commission for the vehicles and 10 percent for all other items. Martin told The Press this was much less than typical options, which would have commissions of up to 20 percent.
The proposed auction would likely be early June due to Weade’s availability. Martin would catalogue and list all of the items.
Council may vote at the next council meeting on whether or not to use Weade along with what to do with the items.
The aftermath of former village administrator’s spending during the four year period in which he engaged his pattern of corrupt activity, ultimately left a general fund more than $400,000 in the red. Recently, that has dropped to about $300,000.
Previously, Martin said he thought the village will be able to get back about $300,000, nearly neutralizing the negative general fund balance, but professional estimates and the potential home sale appear to only net the village between $170,000 to $190,000.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.
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