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Ives Hill Golf Club’s financial woes continue with sale of tax certificate

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The tax sales certificates for Ives Hill Country Club and part of its golf course were among those gobbled up by a Marietta-based investment firm at the city’s public auction Tuesday morning.

Properties auctioned owe back taxes either to the city, Jefferson County or the Watertown City School District, or a combination of the three. The certificates issued to bidders are used as liens against the properties.

ICA Renovations III LLC was the most active bidder at the auction. The company paid $187,295.61 for 56 certificates it was awarded, City Comptroller James E. Mills said. Since 2005, ICA has taken home a majority of the liens at the city’s annual auctions.

ICA was the successful bidder on the country club, more than 32 acres of the golf course and a nearby 30,000-square-foot vacant lot.

All three properties are owned by Prime LLC and its principal, Alexandria Bay developer P.J. Simao.

In May, the holder of the mortgage for Ives Hill Country Club started foreclosure action against the real estate company that owns the property. HSBC Bank USA N.A., Buffalo, filed state Supreme Court action against Prime LLC and Mr. Simao, claiming it is owed about $490,000 remaining on a mortgage it provided to Prime in 2007.

ICA Renovations principal Brian A. Bromka had to outbid others for the three certificates. He got the certificate for the clubhouse building, 465 Flower Ave. W., for $22,965, six holes on the golf course for $8,296 and the vacant lot at 2 Ives St. for $4,685. A portion of the golf course also sits in the town of Watertown.

Mr. Bromka declined to comment afterward.

The city was the default bidder on nine other Simao properties, including the former DealMaker service center and an office building on Main Avenue and a former car dealership at 1068 Arsenal St.

The city was the default bidder on 77 properties altogether, compared with the 135 it received last year.

Overall, 156 parcels whose owners are in arrears by $316,649.99 were included in the auction, compared with the 196 certificates owing $506,591.31 to the city last year.

“It was a normal process, an average year” said Mr. Mills later, noting between 150 and 200 properties are included in the tax sale certificate auction every year.

The certificates are good for two years. If at any time the property owner pays the back taxes, the certificate is nullified and the city pays the proceeds, which includes 1 percent interest per month, to the certificate holder.

If the property owner in arrears doesn’t pay the back taxes after two years, title to the property will be issued to the tax sale certificate holder.

On Tuesday, the city also will have an option to accept 10 deeds — eight residential homes and two commercial properties — that completed the two-year process this year, Mr. Mills said.

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