FairPoint Moves to Keep Ownership of Claremont Building
Claremont — FairPoint Communications has moved to protect its ownership of its office building on Broad Street, which the city seized for back taxes last week.
A “notice of lis pendens” was filed at the Sullivan County Registry of Deeds on Friday, two days after the city clerk’s office recorded the deed conveying ownership of the parcel to the city.
The city believes it was within its rights because under state law a municipality can seize a property if any amount of taxes is delinquent three years or more. FairPoint did not pay any of its 2009 tax bill of $56,000 on its rights-of-way — where the utility poles are located — or the Broad Street building. The office building is located near Stevens High School.
FairPoint argues that because it filed for a tax abatement that year, which has not been resolved, and was also under bankruptcy protection, it was not obligated to pay the taxes pending a court resolution.
The notice filed at the Register of Deeds states that the property “is the subject of bankruptcy proceedings and a continuing injunction” as part of reorganization under Chapter 11 dated Dec. 29, 2010. The filing also makes note of the litigation regarding the tax assessment preceding the tax deed.
FairPoint spokesman Jeffrey Nevins said in an email yesterday that the action by the company is intended “to protect FairPoint’s rights and ownership of the parcel in Claremont.”
Nevins said last week they consider the building to be part of the abatement proceedings, even though FairPoint was not contesting its assessment, which is currently $1.2 million. The abatement is for the rights-of-way.
The city disagrees and believes the building is not part of the abatement.
Patrick O’Grady can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.