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Posted: 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014

Top ten delinquent property owners

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By Jim Otte, I-Team

Dayton —

The owners of the top ten delinquent properties in the Miami Valley owe a total of $11.8 million dollars in back taxes, with many of them unwilling or unable to begin making payments anytime soon. The I-Team assembled the list from public records, corporate filings and other sources. Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice said in many cases the properties are owned by people and corporations outside of the Dayton region. "It is very difficult when a property owner is not here to face any community pressure," Rice said.


The most famous property on the list is the old Dayton Arcade, built in 1902. The owner, a company from Plymouth, Wisconsin, owe $342,580 in back taxes, according to county records. 


The ugliest property in the top ten is the old Executive Inn on Needmore Road at I-75 in Harrison Township. Since the property closed in 2008, it has declined dramatically. It greets visitors driving into the city of Dayton with a display of plywood over windows, broken glass and graffiti. The I-Team found the property is controlled by Jamal "Jimmy" Garmo, who lives in both Michigan and Arizona. He owes $1.1 million dollars in delinquent taxes and has fought county efforts to foreclose on the property. A new developer stands ready to demolish the hotel and build something new if the county's foreclosure action is successful.


Who's Hurt By Non-Payment?

When property owners fall behind in their tax payments schools, libraries and other government agencies see less money. Karl Colon, Greene County Public Library Executive Director, said every year his agency must be careful not to craft its budget based on every dollar that should be paid. Instead, the county estimates what will likely be available and budgeting is adjusted accordingly. Carol Graff, Greene County Library Board President, said she thinks most people who fall behind want to make their payments on time, but cannot afford it. She added, most taxpayers do not realize that there are commercial and industrial properties that for years have been delinquent. "I find it surprising but then there are a lot of homeowners in arrears also," Graff said. A Greene County property that had been in the top ten list for the last several years just recently emerged from bankruptcy. Greene County treasurer Dick Gould said the owners of the Baymont Hotel in Fairborn began making payments late in 2013 and currently owe $241,270.


Top Ten's Most Mysterious Property

While the old bank building at 34 North Main Street in downtown Dayton does not rank highest on the list for most money owed, it does have the most mysterious and perhaps notorious ownership. County records list the current owner as the Ashok Spiritual Healing Center of Baytown, Texas. The owner is listed as a non-profit by the Texas Secretary of State and is controlled by a man who calls himself "Dr. Commander Selvam." Selvam came to Dayton after several business and religious ventures in Atlanta were involved in controversy. From here he moved to Baytown, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Now Selvam is in federal custody awaiting trial on bankruptcy fraud and other charges in Atlanta.

Will They Ever Pay?

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority owns the parking garage on Patterson Boulevard across from Fifth Third Field and owes $944,480. Jerry Brunswick, Port Authority Executive Director, said the debt results from the deal made when the garage and adjoining office building were built, long before Brunswick joined the agency. In an effort to attract a tenant for the office building, free parking was included. Ever since then it has meant the garage loses money every year and the property taxes go unpaid. "There's no cash flow," said Brunswick. He said when the current contract ends in several years, the next tenant will not be offered free parking. The hope is, according to Brunswick, that at some point in the future the Port Authority will begin making property tax payments on the garage.


The odds of a similar outcome for the top property on the I-Team's list are somewhere between slim and none. Owners of the old Dayton Tire and Rubber Company property on Riverview Avenue in Dayton owe $6.3 million. The once-polluted super fund site cannot be re-developed for another use.

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