Angel Exchange a no sale as auction delayed

By: Staff report

LUMBERTON — The auction of the Angel Exchange property was a no sale Monday, being postponed for 30 days.

The delay was requested by an attorney representing the property’s owners, Angel Exchange LLC, and was agreed to by Carolina Commerce and Technology Center, Inc., or COMtech, said J. Matthew Waters, an attorney with the Raleigh-based law offices of Jordan Price that is representing COMtech.

The auction on the steps of the Robeson County Courthouse in Lumberton was the result of a Feb. 12 Superior Court ruling in a lawsuit filed by COMtech against Angel Exchange LLC. The 31,951-square-foot building and accompanying 28.678 acres of land are to be sold. The building’s owners also were ordered by the court to pay COMtech $57,710.30 and attorneys fees.

Monday’s action on the courthouse steps drew no bidders and was over in 20 minutes.

“The property is being sold as is, where is and under no warranty. And the buyer is responsible to do their own due diligence. Typically you would hire an attorney to search the title,” said Braxton Price, an attorney with Hunter and Price in Duplin County who was acting as the auction crier.

At about 10:05 a.m. the first call was made to see if anyone was interested in the property. Price approached two men on the steps.

“Are you here for the Angel Exchange auction?” he asked.

The men said they were there only to watch.

Price waited until about 10:20 a.m. and was about to start the auction when he was stopped by Johnathan Hunt, acting commissioner of the sale. Hunt did not say why he was stopping the auction.

The asking price for the property was $6 million when the county Board of Commissioners voted in January to buy the property and offer it to the Public Schools of Robeson County as a temporary central office site. The county school board refused the offer and has since relocated the school district’s central office staff to the old BB&T building on Kahn Drive in Lumberton. The commissioners dropped discussion of buying the property without given a reason why in public.

The building now has a tax value of $2,395,800, according to the Robeson County Tax Office. The value was assigned during the recent re-valuation of all county property. It represents a decline of about 37 percent from its previous value of $3,797,500 that was assigned during the 2010 re-valuation.

“I was afraid there would be no bidders,” Price said. “I mean, who has $3.8 million?”

In documents filed in Superior Court, COMtech argued it had the right to seek foreclosure and monetary compensation because Angel Exchange was part of the business park and was obligated to abide by park covenants, which included the “payment of periodic maintenance and security fees” to COMtech. COMtech alleged that failure to pay the fees was a breach of contract.

Angel Exchange’s owners also owe a little more than $50,000 in back taxes to the county, according to the Robeson County Tax Office. It was announced in March that the county had begun forcibly collecting some of the delinquent property taxes by garnishing rent the school system was paying for using the building as a central office.

Staff report