Glitch delays tax sale of former hotel

The Caravan II Albergo on Route 422 in Union Township.

The owner of a Union Township paving company was the highest and successful bidder Tuesday for the purchase of the former Caravan II Albergo property.

Three other bidders dropped out of the special tax sale auction when Jarrod Zarlingo, owner of Z’s Paving, was the last potential buyer holding up a bid card. He was awarded the sale at a purchase price of $123,000.

The bidding auction was conducted by county tax claim director Artisha Foster, under advisement of county solicitor Jason Medure.

The sale was for the 11.23-acre property at 1465 Sampson St./Route 422 West, once the site of a Holiday Inn and later, a church.

That hotel burned in the late 1970s, and the building most recently was owned by Andrew and Linda Menichino and Innovative Construction Co. of Greenville.

They were leasing out some of the remaining rooms in recent years and had operated a restaurant and bar in the main building.

The county put the property up for a free and clear tax sale earlier this year because the owners were in arrears $483,368 in back taxes.

The property was sold free and clear of all past-owed taxes and municipal claims, mortgages, liens and other encumbrances.

The owner of the property previously had sought stays of the sale in court multiple times, but President Judge Dominick Motto rejected the most recent request in July.

The county commissioners had successfully fought a final petition for a stay in federal bankruptcy court filed by the hotel owners, who were trying to keep ownership of the property.

They hadn’t paid property taxes on the building or land since they bought it in 2009, according to county tax claim records. The taxes were outstanding, with penalties, to the county, Union Township and the Union Area School District.

Medure said Tuesday that about $26,000 in costs, including a realty transfer tax, advertising and other costs, would go to the county from the sale amount. After that, the amount would be divided among the three taxing bodies — the county, Union Township and the Union Area School District.

The bidding started at $26,491.75. After it reached $66,000, one of the four bidders dropped out. After $84,000, the second bidder dropped out. The two remaining bidders raised the price to $122,000 when the third bidder ceded the sale to Zarlingo. The process lasted five minutes.

“That’s the fastest sale we ever had,” Foster commented.

The money for the property was due in the tax claim office by the end of the day Tuesday, and all sales are final, Medure said.

It takes 30 days for the sale to be sent to the courts for confirmation, he said, adding the new owner will receive the deed within 60 days.

An attempt to contact Zarlingo about his plans for the property was unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.

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Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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