WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two companies owned by the man who’s redeveloping a former industrial area in Warren to manufacture and operate his AUTOParkit company owes delinquent taxes to Trumbull County.
The companies are Raiders Trading Limited, LLC and Dorian Capital Investments, Inc.
Both are owned by Warren native Christopher Alan, who’s been working to redevelop the former Delphi and GE plants on Dana Street into AUTOParkit, which builds high-tech automated parking systems.
Trumbull County Treasurer Sam Lamancusa said Raiders Trading owes $280,187 and Dorian Capital owes $124,096 for a total of $404,283.
Letters sent by the treasurer’s office to both companies state “that unless the taxes and penalty are paid in full or other arrangements have been made with fifteen (15) days…a foreclosure action will be brought in the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas.”
Lamancusa said the 15 days expire on September 27.
Alan said the taxes are from the previous owner of the property, Sergio DiPaolo.
Alan bought the properties after a lengthy legal fight in bankruptcy court and agreed to pay the back taxes.
He was unaware of the letters, the 15-day deadline or the threat of foreclosure.
“You finally have somebody coming in, improving the property, agrees to pay money to the county that he doesn’t owe, that was owed by somebody else and so their way of helping out is to foreclose?” Alan questioned. “It’s all hyperbole because now he has somebody who can pay taxes and so he’s going to strong-arm us. Come on, that’s not right.”
He said the question should be why the county isn’t working with him.
“We’ve obviously invested a bunch of money already. We’ve stayed through something that anyone in their right mind would have walked away from. So why do you want to threaten them and not just work with them? Where’s the benefit?”
Alan said he plans to pay the taxes but he did not give any indication of when or how the payment will be made.
“We’re going to do what we said we’re going to do which is, we’re going to pay those taxes that are not ours. Those are from the previous owner but we’re going to go ahead and pay those.”
Alan said getting to this point has cost him a lot of money. He said the attorney fees for the bankruptcy alone have been $450,000.
To people growing impatient with the slow progress of redeveloping the properties, Alan asks, “What are they doing?”
“We’re committed to the town,” he said. “The city needs to stay committed to us. We’re going to do exactly what we said we’re going to do. We’re going to hire a whole bunch of people, we’re going to put a whole bunch of money into those properties, we’re going to fix them up and they’re going to be state-of-the-art facilities when we’re done. But it’s going to take some time.”