No court hearing set in city's lawsuit against Bingham Square owners

Nov. 16—ANDERSON — No hearing has been set in the lawsuit filed by the city of Anderson earlier this year against the owners of the Bingham Square Apartments.

City officials filed the lawsuit against the owners of the Bingham Square apartments seeking $1.6 million.

Michael Austin, attorney for the Anderson Redevelopment Commission (ARC), said Tuesday that the litigation is ongoing and a pretrial conference has been set for January by Madison Circuit Court Division 6 Judge Mark Dudley.

He said Property Resource Associates, which owns both the Bingham Square and Madison Square apartment complexes, has been cited into environmental court.

Austin said the owners were fined $5,000, along with an additional $150 per day for each day the apartment complexes are not in compliance with city building codes.

He said Redevelopment Commission members met in executive session last month with a prospective buyer for the two apartment complexes.

"We're not involved in the sale," Austin said. "The ARC has to give approval for the assumption of the TIF (tax increment financing) bonds."

Council President Rebecca Crumes raised concerns about people dumping trash at Bingham Square and the lack of utilities for some of the remaining residents.

"The owners are being fined for code violations," Austin said. "Their attorney said they are not collecting rent and won't make the necessary repairs."

He said the courts have informed the owners the fines will be increased if the apartment complexes remain out of compliance with building codes.

When asked if the Redevelopment Commission could provide financial assistance for people to move, member Danny McGhee said the commission has bylaws that must be followed.

"The only action we can take is through the courts," he said. "There is no easy and quick solution."

The ARC is seeking repayment of a $935,000 bond that was provided to Property Resource Associates to upgrade the apartment units.

The city is also seeking $700,000 in utility payments owed by Bingham Square.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.