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Butler County may have buyer for Georgia property

Butler County may have finally unloaded a home it owned in Hawkinsville, Georgia, but the sale price to the single bidder is well below the asking price.

One bidder came forward offering to pay $1,000 for the house after the county advertised for bids twice. The asking price was $8,000 and the county paid $18,000 for the property. Purchasing and Asset Director Randy Quisenberry said they have a buyer, now they just need to tend to the paperwork.

“We spoke with the person submitting the offer and he’s very eager to follow up on his offer,” Quisenberry said. “Now we just have to dot the Is and cross the Ts.”

The county was forced to buy the property on Dooly Street due to Medicaid rules in 2004. Chuck Demidovich, director of the county’s Care Facility, says it’s a unique story.

An elderly woman moved to Butler County to live with her daughter, and three years later she was admitted to the care facility but denied Medicaid because she still owned her Georgia home.

When her nursing home bill reached about $50,000, Demidovich said a deal was cut to buy the house so the woman would qualify for aid and the county got about $40,000 of her bill paid. Under Ohio law, nursing homes are supposed to take people’s property when they enter a facility.

“It’s a strange thing,” Demidovich said when the county advertised the sale in August. “The thing is the law says I’m supposed to collect these people’s property. I really don’t want to do that and this is an exact example why. If I get somebody’s house that nobody wants, I might as well become a land bank.”

He said he tried everything he could think of to unload the house to no avail. He is glad the house will soon be off his hands.

“I’m just glad somebody bid,” Demidovich said. “It’s nice to see it gone versus a tax bill every year. It was somewhere around $200, which tells you the value of the house.”

Assistant Prosecutor Roger Gates said the county was required by statute to put the property out to bid.

“Their options were to do nothing and end up having it go to foreclosure or try to sell it,” Gates said. “The decision was made to advertise it for sale and see what bids they got. They only got one bid. You can’t force people to buy bid on property. So if only one person wants to buy it and they only think it’s worth the amount they bid, the commissioners can decide whether they want to sell it.”