The Augusta Commission settled an unusual claim Monday on property, now the site of Sue Reynolds Elementary School, that mistakenly was sold twice more than a decade ago.
After a legal meeting, the commission authorized payment to Henry Steinberg of $48,522, the amount he paid at a 2000 auction of the 40.54-acre property for nonpayment of taxes.
The year before, however, the Richmond County Board of Education had begun condemnation proceedings against owner Comprehensive Housing Inc. for the site, upon which it built the school.
In the 1999 condemnation proceedings, a special appointed master awarded Comprehensive Housing $665,000 for the tract, according to settlement documents and previous Augusta Chronicle reports.
The tax commissioner’s office, which oversees tax sales, was unaware of the judgment and auctioned the property because the judgment wasn’t recorded until August 2001, according to the settlement.
Steinberg’s claim arose after the Georgia Department of Transportation began condemnation proceedings against Steinberg and the Board of Education in 2010 for the widening of Wrightsboro Road.
Under the terms of the settlement, Steinberg relinquished any interest in the property. The school board is expected to pay $26,477 toward the settlement, for a total of $75,000.
“The deed was not recorded properly,” said Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick, who learned of the matter after taking office in 2007. “There was no recourse for our office to make a change because the time limit had expired.”
Kendrick’s predecessor, Jerry Saul, who was in office when the transactions took place, died in April.