Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Werk Mansion being stripped for cash?

A reader of Building Cincinnati and neighbor of the Werk Mansion reports that pieces of the historic estate are being auctioned off.

Prior owners Katrina and Ron Mincy are auctioning off chandeliers, gates, and other fixtures attached to the home in an effort to raise money for themselves.

The 15-room, 5,000-square-foot house and 4.94-acre grounds at 2657 Fleetwood Avenue were auctioned off last Thursday and purchased for the minimum bid of $266,000 by Deutsche Bank, the sole bidder.

The Mincys have filed a dispute against Deutsche Bank, stopping the bank from deterring them from stripping the property.

The Mincys purchased the house in 2005 with plans to open a bed and breakfast and ministry/conference center, a project that never panned out as the house fell into a state of disrepair.

Hamilton County Auditor records show that the Mincys were more than $28,000 behind in property taxes, and the house was lost in foreclosure.

"I don't know how the Mincys ever got a loan to begin with as I looked up on line and found the long lists of evictions, judgements, passing bad checks, etc. filed against the Mincys," the reader says. "She got a zero down loan from some brokerage I never heard of that sold it to Deutsche. Just another classic sleazy deal that is typical of our banking failures."

Neighbors gathered hundreds of signatures in an attempt to stop the Mincys from changing the zoning to commercial, hoping to keep it available for new owners to use it as a single-family home.

"We saw they were in real financial trouble and would just leave the door open for the next owner to destroy this property," the reader says. "There are still many people who would be passionate about buying this incredible estate as their home. But without the chandeliers, selling it will be harder."

The attorneys in Cleveland who handled the foreclosure have hired an attorney to stop the Mincys, and the reader claims that auction handler Penny Worley of Real Living, Inc. is being investigated for being unethical.

"I have a feeling the Mincys haven't told them the correct information about what is going on, or I have to believe they would stop marketing the fixtures and home as an auction," the reader says. "Clearly the ethics of Penny Worley and her company/brokerage Real Living is suspect."

The reader has contacted Westwood Concern and the Westwood Historical Society, and is even trying to put together a grassroots solution.

"I am trying to organize people to purchase on line today the fixtures so we can make sure they end up back in the hands of the buyer," the reader says. "I don't want us to bid against each other and give them any more money than necessary. Trust me something in this economy I don't want to do, especially since some of the pieces are now getting very expensive on line. I suspect as in most online auctions, the prices will zoom at the end."

Photo credit: Cincinnati Preservation Association

Previous reading on BC:
Werk Mansion to be auctioned today (10/30/08)