By Jeanne Sager
WOODRIDGE February 22, 2002 Theres nothing as certain in life as taxes but even those arent so easy to collect.
With $2 million owed in back taxes, the Davos housing development in Woodridge has been on Sullivan Countys foreclosure radar since as far back as 1989.
The county planned on foreclosing on the property last year and putting it up for tax auction in June.
But then Misa Chang, the New York City developer who has been buying up bits of Monticello since last year, stepped in.
She purchased the property from the corporate owners, despite the tax situation.
She wants to turn the place around, said Changs daughter Julie Chen starting by rehabilitating the buildings that have stood vacant for more than 12 years.
Before proceeding, Chang filed for bankruptcy which has put tax collection at a standstill once again.
By law were automatically stayed from proceeding with the foreclosure until the bankruptcy matter is cleared up, said County Attorney Ira Cohen.
The bankruptcy move gives Chang a chance to contest the assessments on the property, Cohen said, which means the tax amount might be knocked down.
The county is countering the move, however, filing to contest the bankruptcy.
She bought it subject to foreclosure proceedings, Cohen said.
And this isnt the first time something like this has happened to the county.
Former owners of the property, of which there have been many according to Sullivan County Real Property Administration Director Bob Theadore, have filed for bankruptcy during these proceedings before.
At one point, however, the county was able to get about $700,000 in back taxes paid off, Cohen said, but then the property was put back on the market.
While the county challenges the bankruptcy, there is nothing else they can do, Cohen said.
According to Chen, Chang has great plans for the property once the tax matters are settled, but no specific plans have been announced.
Weve got to fix whats in existence before we can look at what we want to do with it, Chen said.
Chang chose the area because of its location, Chen added.
Its so beautiful over there, and when the opportunity became available, she bought it.
The reason Chang hasnt moved on the project yet is because of all the paperwork, Chen added.