What's the rush?
In its response filed late this afternoon to Steven Ingersoll's motion seeking permission to unload the Perry House, 2230 Center Avenue in Bay City, the government is looking to hit the brakes.
According to its response, the government is concerned that the purchase agreement for the sale of
2230 Center Avenue might not reflect fair market value, but rather be a “fire sale”
price that would allow Ingersoll to liquidate the property before foreclosure and
enable him to pay his obligation to his defense attorney, but not serve the interests
of the public.
In its response, the government cites the familiarity of Center Avenue area real estate by a staffer who'd previously lived in the neighborhood.
Benchmarking the sale price with another former neighbor who'd formerly lived in close proximity to the Perry House reinforced the government's contention that the agreed upon sale price ($248,000) is lower than its current market value. The government and counsel for Ingersoll have been in discussions
regarding the proposed sale in the aftermath of the filing of Ingersoll’s motion .
Although Ingersoll's attorney, Jan Geht, has agreed to obtain an appraisal by a state licensed residential real estate
appraiser, and apparently retained a firm for that purpose, the appraisal had not
been secured as of this afternoon.
The government also contends in its response that "the urgency expressed by Ingersoll in his
motion is more imaginary than real, and largely Ingersoll’s creation to the extent
that it is real."
The Perry House is scheduled to be sold at a
foreclosure sale on April 29, 2016. Ingersoll received formal notice of the foreclosure sale on or about March 1, 2016. The government contends Ingersoll had to have known that he was in default on his mortgage obligation long before he received that formal notice.
However, he did not list the property for sale until March 17, 2017. Ingersoll received an offer on the property only a week after listing it with his real estate agent. Ingersoll made a counter-offer that was accepted by the purported buyer, yet Ingersoll did not make a motion for permission to sell the property until April 4, 2016.
Well, come one, he did have a heart attack on April Fools' Day!
The government asserts that Ingersoll could have taken measures to sell the property before the property
was scheduled to be sold at a mortgage foreclosure sale. Ingersoll also should have
made his motion for permission to sell the property when he knew that he had to
either sell 2230 Center Avenue or resolve his mortgage default.
The government asserts that given the substantial
equity he had in 2230 Center Avenue, as opposed to other properties sold with the
court and the government’s permission, and the substantial advance notice of the
likely development of the situation now presented to the court and the parties,
Ingersoll could and should have sought permission to sell 2230 Center Avenue
before he listed the property and well before the mortgage foreclosure sale was
And finally, counsel for the government contacted the attorney for the current
mortgage holder on 2230 Center Avenue.
Based on discussions with that attorney,
it appears that the property can be removed from the foreclosure sale and the sale
There is a fee associated with pursuing that course of action, but it is
very modest when compared to the value of the property and the equity at issue.
Given the rather artificial urgency regarding the sale created by Ingersoll’s actions
and inactions, the government response states "it is reasonable to require him to incur the cost of postponing the
mortgage foreclosure sale until the appraisal has been obtained and made available
to the court and the government."
That would allow an "informed decision" to be made regarding the propriety of approving the sale of 2230
Center Avenue negotiated by Ingersoll, and the disposition of the sale proceeds, or
to invalidate the sale and put the property back on the market.
We'll see what happens!