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HB commission says no to fine reduction

By Lia Martin, Islander Reporter

Since developer Robert Byrne abandoned his property at 518 Key Royale Drive in Holmes Beach some three to four years ago, it has become an eyesore and an encumbrance to city staff and commissioners who hope to find a solution to an inherited problem.

The property is in foreclosure, and Byrne no longer lives locally. Because the property hasn’t been maintained, it has become the city’s problem. Code enforcement has fined the property $250 daily and the city lien has reached $218,000 and continues to grow.

Scott Davis appealed at a May 24 commission meeting for the city to lower the fine by $200,000 in exchange for sprucing up the property. Cap Financial CV1 LLC was willing to shoulder that burden, he said. Holmes construction has already been recruited to clean up the property.

Davis asked if Holmes Beach would allow Cap to only pay $18,000. In exchange, Cap was prepared to make an immediate improvement to the property, including a new irrigation system, front door and garage door, so the property could be sold.

When Davis was asked by Commissioner John Monetti if he was an employee of Cap Financial, he said he was not. Davis said he is a private contractor. His business is Real Estate Capital Solutions LLC, he said.

Davis also said Cap Financial is not the owner, although he Cap would buy the property at auction.

“I guess the owner is the bankruptcy court or Robert Byrne,” Davis said. “It is going to sell for $1.6 million or $1.7 million. I don’t see anyone joining us on the courthouse steps.”

Commissioner David Zaccagnino, talking to Commission Chair Sandy Haas-Martens, said he remembered a similar case before the city 18 months ago.

“You said then,” Zaccagnino said, “let the buyer beware.”

Davis agreed to get the deed to the property before returning to another workshop and asking for a reduction on the lien.

Haas-Martens told Davis the city would not settle for $18,000. She said the city did not usually reduce fines or penalties.

City attorney Patricia Petruff advised Davis it would depend on how much money they would spend getting the property back in shape, and if Cap would actually be awarded the property.

“It would depend on whether you spend $40,000 or $200,000,” Petruff said.

Zaccagnino told Davis it would be tough to make a deal because Cap Financial did not own the property.

“Get the deed,” Zaccagnino said to Davis, “and we will strike a bargain on that day.”

Cap Financial CV1 LLC has a judgment against Byrne for more than $1.5 million for the property, which was to go to auction June 1, 2011. The bidding was to begin at 11 a.m.

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