You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

A dozen dilapidated properties once owned by David Kircher headed for auction at month's end

By Tom Perkins


A former David Kircher home on North Lincoln Street in Ypsilanti.

Tom Perkins | For

Twelve remaining properties that once belonged to jailed Ypsilanti landlord David Kircher will be back on the market, this time in a Washtenaw County tax foreclosure auction.

Bidding on the properties, which are mostly in poor condition, begins on Nov. 30 and ends on Dec. 3.

Interested buyers can see the listings here.

Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McClary said the City of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township properties are mostly in bad condition but are a good opportunity for a local buyer looking to turn the homes into student housing or rental units.

The homes range in price from a $12,538 starting bid at 661 Oswego Ave. in Ypsilanti Township to a home near Eastern Michigan University’s campus at 118 Ballard Street listed for $30,187.

“My staff and outside experts looked at these properties, and for the most part they are derelict and causing a blight on the community,” McClary said. “The auction is going to be a good opportunity for someone who is a local bidder who should take time to look at them, walk around the outside, look in the windows, do their research, and decide if they’re worth bidding on.”

Among the properties are:

  • 302 E. Cross Street
  • 220 N. Lincoln Street
  • 50 S. Summit Street
  • 424 Ballard Street
  • 5 Driscoll Court
  • 118 Ballard Street
  • 49 S. Summit Street
  • 315 Washtenaw Avenue
  • 661 Oswego Avenue
  • 649 Oswego Avenue
  • 1536 Foley Avenue
  • 1117 Holmes Road

The total due in back taxes from all the properties is $220,996.

Kircher is serving a 5-year prison term for illegally pumping raw sewage into the Huron River from the Eastern Highlands apartment complex on LeForge Road in Ypsilanti Township.

He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February and that was converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June.

As of April, Kircher held around $2.7 million in debt. The largest debt is to the State of Michigan, to which he owes $1.1 million for dumping the raw sewage.

The bankruptcy trustee offered a package of 34 properties, of which the remaining 12 did not sell. The largest, Eastern Highlands, recently sold for $1.5 million.

Another property in Northfield Township was demolished by the township and will be converted into a parking lot to serve a senior center.

The current properties up for auction were headed to tax foreclosure in February, but when Kircher filed for bankruptcy, a stay was placed on them.

McClary said her office intervened in the bankruptcy proceedings because the county had a proof of claim to file for all the taxes.

“It is my intent as treasurer to collect the taxes,” she said. “We also felt the bankruptcy was really not in the public good, because of the taxes that were owed.”

Some of the properties were cherry-picked and sold by the bankruptcy trustee, which McClary said is a positive because all of those back taxes were paid.

Offers were submitted for four remaining properties - 220 N. Lincoln, 424 Ballard, 5 Driscoll Court and 49 S. Summit - but there was not a good chain of title when it came time to sell them. McClary said she thinks those properties are among the best on the auction block.

If the properties don’t sell, there will be a no-bid auction on December 14. If they still don’t sell, the county will give them to the city or township.

"I highly recommend a potential buyer researches and does due diligence as to what the potential problems are,” McClary said. “All properties have been abandoned and unoccupied for a number of years, because (Kircher) has been in prison.”



Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

I love old houses. I hope some of these can be saved. The one in the picture, if I had the money I would love to buy it and fix it up. If it can't be saved it can't be saved but I hope it is.

Chase Ingersoll

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

Note the amount of taxes due on these properties. If you purchase a property in Ypsilanti, keep in mind that within 15 years you will have paid in property taxes, as much as you initially paid for the property. Also - the homestead exemption does nothing but discriminate against renters and distort the true value of all real estate.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Good question..

Thomas Mast

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 : 4 a.m.

Why does a member of a local chamber of commerce repeatedly, and publicly, mock it's next door neighbor?


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

"My staff and outside experts looked at these properties, and for the most part they (the remaining) are derelict..." "Some of the properties were cherry-picked and sold by the bankruptcy trustee" Why are we such a society of insiders and sweetheart deals?


Wed, Nov 28, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

It's ironic that you comment without reading what I wrote. I did not say 'wrongdoing'. I am suggesting once it was determined that the properties would not sell all together; they should have offered all of the individual properties to the highest bidder. Our government (State and County) collectively will lose money...our money. I can't imagine why we did not seek out the highest bidder in a public, transparent way to mitigate that loss. Its not wrongdoing, it's just foolish to give a sweetheart deal when we potentially could have recovered more money. I have done this so I am aware of the process AND the outcome. There could have been a better financial outcome.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

Why do you assume wrong-doing? The bankruptcy trustee looked at the long list of properties that Kircher owned, and "cherry-picked" the ones that were worth the effort and cost of trying to sell commercially as a single portfolio. Follow the "offered a package" link in the story to learn more about that sale. That was legal, and as the Treasurer is quoted as saying, it's a good thing, because the purchaser will pay the back taxes. The remaining 12 properties that this article is about are in such disrepair that the trustee decided they weren't worth the cost and effort of trying to sell commercially. The county will try to sell these now for whatever they can get for them, but it's possible that some of them won't sell, or will sell for less than the taxes owed.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

Stories about wealthy eccentrics are always welcome, certainly, but the real news here is how those pesky government regulations destroyed yet another job creator.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Funny. He obviously wasn't investing his profits in the political system.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

If anyone wants to know why we have so many regulations related to rental properties, look no further than Mr Kircher. People like him are the reason the government needs to step in and put rules in place.


Tue, Nov 27, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

That would certainly put a welcome stop to Arch Realty.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

The problem with so many regulations is it makes it hard for the good landlords. Why not something simple like 5 complaints and you're done renting in the community. When you can tell a rental just by looking at it, it's time for that landlord to go.


Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

I wouldn't want any of these properties. Even if I had the money to bid there is probably too much inside to clean, such as molding, rat and roach infestations among others. Just not worth it. Let the city pr township have them and put the wrecking ball to them.