Warren sets auction for brick school

By Beth A. Birmingham | Dec 12, 2013
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham

At its Dec. 11 meeting, the Warren Board of Selectmen took the next step in the resolution of the property at 44 School St.

"We authorized the town manager to sign a contract with an auction firm called Tranzon Auction Properties," stated Chairman Doug Pope in an email Dec. 12.

"I have signed the auction contract for the town and it has been mailed to Tranzon for signature," said Town Manager Elaine Clark. Tranzon — located in Portland — is a nationwide auction company.

At a special town meeting Nov. 7, residents voted to auction the brick school to the highest bidder as part of an out-of-court settlement with businessman Robert Emery.

The building at 44 School St. has been at the center of controversy in the town since 2010 when Emery had an agreement to purchase the property and planned to work with CRC Health Group to establish a methadone clinic there.

Warren had entered into a conditional settlement agreement with parties involved in a dispute over the sale of the brick school at 44 School St., according to a document posted Oct. 1 on the town website.

The proposed resolution of the dispute involves auctioning the property and dividing the proceeds of the sale as follows: 15 percent will be taken right off the top as a buyer's premium to the auction company; costs of advertising will be reimbursed to the town; the remaining 60 percent will go to the plaintiff Robert Emery Jr. through his company Vixen Land Holdings LLC; and 40 percent will go to the town.

The settlement agreement will fully and finally resolve the legal dispute, and states that "no party admits any wrongdoing."

In fall 2010, Emery had a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy the brick school from the town and planned to serve as landlord to CRC Health Group there.

In May 2011, the town told Emery the contract was null and void due to breach of contract. The town said Emery failed to secure a written commitment from a lender for the project, as stipulated in the sale agreement. However, town attorney William Kelly explained the plaintiffs had indeed provided written notice to the town that they would be buying the property in cash.

In February, a United States District court judge threw out two federal claims and one state claim of Emery's who alleged he was protected under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and was discriminated against by the town of Warren.

The auction is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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Staff Profile

Beth Birmingham
Staff Reporter
594-4401 ext. 125
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Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.

Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.

Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.

Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.

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