The City of Mexico won an auction against itself for the old A.P. Green grounds on Feb. 9, casting a winning bid of $300,000 during the county auction. There were no other bidders.
“There was no exact formula,” Mexico City Manager Bruce Slagle informed the Leader on Feb. 23. “Upon discussions with our attorneys, we determined our opening bid to be reasonable in an auction situation.”
Slagle previously told the Leader on Feb. 21 that he could have bid $10, but he doesn’t believe the court would have approved it. Slagle also stated that the city has not inspected the property yet or consulted with commercial realtors in order to be able to determine the fair market value of the property.
Ownership of the A.P. Green grounds has gone through several hands despite the city’s efforts to attract industrial development to the site, including passage of a $1.9 million bond in 2009 to help Mid America Brick start up. Mid America Brick went into bankruptcy and the property was sold to a fracking company. Later, Abacus Industrial Holdings purchased the property in 2019 and agreed to pay the bond but never made any payments. This forced Mexico to have to cover the bond payments itself.
The city received a $1.6 million judgement against Abacus in November 2020 but as of Feb. 23 had not yet tried to enforce the judgement.
“We knew going into this, this was not a good sale [to Abacus], but we couldn’t stop the sale,” Slagle told the Mexico City Council during its Feb. 22 meeting. “And we knew they didn’t have a good track record from previous places that they’ve worked at. So I’m not expecting much from them.”
The $300,000 bid for the property has to be approved by the court before it is final, but Slagle stated that the judge has not signed off on it yet.
“We assumed we’d have that by now but we don’t,” Slagle told the council. Slagle further stated that the city would now need to insure the property.
Slagle also indicated that he sees no reason not to allow Bean Excavating of Mississippi to continue stripping the site of its resources, but he said he will discuss the issue further with the scrappers after he reviews its contract. Either way, the administrative buildings will remain intact.