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Questions persist about auction

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    Contributed photo The advertisement for the auction at the Greene County Sheriff’s Auction last month.
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    The exterior of the existing Greene County Sheriff’s Office on Bridge Street in Catskill. An unauthorized auction of its interior occurred last month.
July 17, 2019 05:18 pm Updated: July 17, 2019 10:53 pm

CATSKILL — Uncertainty surrounding the legality of an auction at the former sheriff’s office last month continued Wednesday as photographs of items tagged for sale surfaced in a comment posted on Hudson Valley 360.

Items that were not specified in the email to Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden on March 28 are featured in the advertisement on Auction International. Additionally the auction began on March 27, according to the website.

“In parentheses it says doors, windows and molding,” Groden said Wednesday, referring to the email sent to him by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. “I must have read [it] at 80 miles an hour.”

Groden responded to the email by authorizing windows, doors, molding and kitchen equipment to be sold.

Because the value of the items was under $10,000, the items did not have to be retired or sold off by the Greene County Legislature, Groden said.

The tag line for the advertisement on Auction International reads, “Vintage Windows, Doors, Radiators, Floors, Molding & More.”

Photographs accompanying the advertisement show the staircase, a vintage claw-foot bathtub, a sink, two fireplaces and many other items.

Groden said he did not see photographs for these items online.

“Building will be taken down in the near future,” according to the advertisement. “Buyer is responsible for removal and must have proper liability insurance.”

The highest bidder, listed under the name ronsully57., won the items for $260.

The Legislature will hold a workshop July 24 to discuss the future of the Bridge Street building.

The Legislature reserved $500,000 for the demolition of the sheriff’s office and the former jail, while a historic carriage house on the property will remain intact, Deputy Administrator Warren Hart said.

The Legislature has not announced firm plans for the property at this time.

“At the least, we‘re going to use it for parking,” Hart said.

Sale of the property has to be approved by the Legislature, Hart said.

A criminal justice museum for research opportunities and vocational training and a safe space for recovering addicts, the homeless and people in need of transitional housing have been suggested as future uses.

As for what has been lost from the sheriff’s office, the county is trying to retrieve the items, Groden said.

“We are asking the winners to return the items,” Groden said. “They won fair and square, so it is the purchaser’s option.”

Catskill Airbnb owner Pat Ruck said the winners stayed with her June 8-10.

“They spent two days in the building [the sheriff’s office] taking doors off,” Ruck said, adding that a deputy watched over them.

Because they came in a compact car, the winners, whom Ruck declined to name, planned to come back for the rest of the items.

This link includes the false assessment by Delaware, my response, and
my letter to Groden threatening a lawsuit if he harms 80 Bridge Street.