Tonawanda News — A judge has upheld his initial decision to allow North Tonawanda to keep and sell a long-standing bar on Webster Street .
Ava’s Place was placed under the city’s control in January, after its owners failed to pay outstanding and delinquent taxes on time. Randy Siford, who owned the establishment with his mother said they will appeal the decision made by Niagara County State Supreme Court Judge Frank Caruso, who refused a motion to set aside an order to grant the city title.
The city plans to sell the property to the owner of another Webster Street business, Jay Soemann, who was under contract to purchase the property from Siford and his mother for $140,000. City attorney Shawn Nickerson said the municipality still plans to sell it to Soemann, though at a lesser price of $95,000. It’s assessed value is $75,000, Nickerson said.
The common council has already authorized Mayor Rob Ortt to proceed with the sale after Siford and his attorney successfully pulled off a court-ordered stay on the property until they met before Caruso on Thursday.
Siford, who Nickerson said hadn’t paid taxes since 2005, owed the city, county and school district approximately $50,000 including interest and penalties, but made a partial payment of $25,000 in November. Siford said he had the money to resolve the debt on Jan. 31, when the city instead refused the payment and moved toward foreclosure.
“He tried to come in with the money,” Nickerson said. “First of all the last date to redeem on the property was in August and he never paid. I met with Scott Kiedrowski, the city clerk-treasurer, and the mayor, and we made a collective decision that it was in the best interest of the city to refuse. If he was not able to sell it we’d have a vacant bar for maybe months or years to come.”