More than 30 properties in the V.I. will go on the auction block Jan. 18 and 19 on St. Croix and Jan. 25 and 26 in the St. Thomas/St. John district, including 183 acres on St. John once slated for a territorial park, and a nearly 18-acre parcel on Frenchman’s Bay, St. Thomas.
The owners of the properties have failed to pay real estate taxes for 10 or more years, said Shawna Richards, spokeswoman in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.
There are 15 properties on St. Thomas, 15 on St. Croix and three on St. John. According to Richards, they were randomly selected from a list of delinquent properties. A list of about 1,400 across the territory was released in July by the Property Tax Division of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.
“We could not auction that volume of properties at one time,” Richards said.
She said that in some cases, the property owners on the earlier list agreed on installment plans to pay the back taxes.
The list to be auctioned in January includes 183.1 acres in Coral Bay, St. John that was slated to be a territorial park. At an April 14, 2010 ceremony in Coral Bay, the attorney for the Egbert Marsh Trust, William Blum, announced a new territorial park was on tap for 170 acres of that same parcel. He did not return two phone calls made Thursday and Friday requesting comment.
Richards said she had no information on the territorial park issue.
The Egbert Marsh Trust owes $243,675 in back taxes dating to 2000. The property tax data on the Lieutenant Governor’s Office website indicates the property includes a three-bedroom concrete house built in 1984. The property had been for sale but was withdrawn from the market several years ago.
The St. John list also includes 17 acres at Sans Souci and Guinea Gut owned by the heirs of H. and J. Thomas. Back taxes are listed at $156,023 and date to 2000.
The third St. John property is a 1.27-acre Peter Bay lot. It’s owned by the St. John Land Investment Partnership, which owes $100,105 in back taxes dating to 2000.
On St. Thomas, many of the properties to be auctioned off are small commercial properties in Charlotte Amalie and environs as wells as residential lots and properties anywhere from a half acre to 3.5 acres.
V.I. Enterprises Ltd Flagship is on the St. Thomas list with its 17.7 acres in Frenchman’s Bay. The entity hasn’t paid $55,082 worth of taxes since 2000.
Delia and Luther Benjamin owe $74,354 on 17 acres of land in Estate Thomas. The oldest bill dates to 2000.
Mario Bryan owes $32,358 for a two-bedroom house on 12.7 acres in Estate Donoe. The bills date as far back as 2000. The house was built in 1964 and is listed by the Tax Office in poor condition.
On St. Croix, many are small commercial properties and residential properties from a quarter acre in size up to 4.5 acres.
However, the list includes 19.2 acres listed as commercial in La Reine. It’s owned by Villa La Reine Commercial. The company owes $365,289 in back property taxes dating to 1998.
Unichris Corp. owes $9,876 for back property taxes dating to 1998. The company has 5.5 acres in Whim.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Office set out guidelines for bidding on these properties:
- No bid will be accepted for a less than the amount of the taxes and public sewer system user fees plus all costs and penalties;
- Bids must be accompanied by cash deposits equaling 10 percent of the bid;
- The balance must be paid within 30 days or the deposit will be retained by Property Tax Division and applied to the back tax bill;
- The Property Tax Division reserves the right to award the sale to the next highest bidder.
For a complete list of properties to be auctioned off, visit the Lieutenant Governor’s Office website for St. Thomas/St. John and for St. Croix.