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Clinton County man claims Lewis County improperly sold Osceola parcel

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LOWVILLE — A Clinton County man is claiming Lewis County sold his Osceola property at last year’s delinquent tax auction without giving him proper notice.

Andrew J. Davis, Morrisonville, through a state Supreme Court lawsuit filed Friday in the Lewis County clerk’s office, states he was improperly “ousted and put out of possession” of a 27-acre parcel off North Osceola Road after the county sold it to Brian J. Traynor, Watertown, at its May 2012 tax auction.

The suit, filed by Watertown attorney James A. Burrows against both the county and Mr. Traynor, identified in legal paperwork as “Brian Trainor,” seeks court action to return title of the parcel to Mr. Davis.

However, county attorney Richard J. Graham said he believes the county’s foreclosure of the property in early 2012, after more than two years of nonpayment of property taxes, and subsequent sale were done properly.

“We’ll defend it,” he said. “Our research shows we complied with all the notice requirements of real property tax law.”

Mr. Graham noted that, in past lawsuits against the county, judges “haven’t found any defect in our procedures, and I don’t expect this case to be any different.”

New Jersey-based Go By Sno Group in 2009 filed a claim against the county after it foreclosed on its 3.4-acre parcel in the town of West Turin and sold it at auction to Stanley G. Kraeger. However, now-retired Judge Joseph D. McGuire ruled in favor of the county.

In his lawsuit, Mr. Davis, who bought the parcel in June 2003, states that he and other family members and friends had utilized the camp and property for nearly a decade, including on several occasions from December 2011 through May 2012.

He claims that, while visiting the property on June 6, 2012, he found that someone had been in the camp, removed some personal contents and apparently destroyed some in a bonfire outside.

After reporting the matter to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department, Mr. Davis found out through the county treasurer’s office that the parcel had been sold, the suit states.

The former owner claims that he “never received any notice from anyone” prior to that date and that the county “failed to provide adequate legally sufficient notice” of the impending foreclosure and sale.

The suit adds that Mr. Davis received no written notification either by mail or posted at the property and that “alleged mailings” from the county were apparently returned as undeliverable.

Mr. Traynor bought the property in question at auction for $16,000, and it has a true assessed value of $17,300, according to county tax records.

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