Itﾒs a ﾑno-goﾒ for Frenchﾒs Diner
A few spectators, but no bidders, gathered in a rainy mist on Thursday as one of Marlinton's icons went on the auction block.
Drowning in a sea of Federal and State Tax Liens, with accrued penalties and interest, dating as far back as July 2002, French's Diner closed its doors November 28, 2010, and the Internal Revenue Service seized the building for nonpayment of taxes.
"The 24x48 foot building, with the tangible and intangible property and rights that pertained to the French's Diner business" were offered at the public auction with a reserve of $3,000.
IRS representative Keith Thomas, of the Lousiville, Kentucky, office, travels around the country.
"All I do is sell," Thomas said. "This is a beautiful little town. Without this sale, I would have never been here."
As the gloved hands of Thomas' 30-year-old Mickey Mouse watch pointed to noon, the sale began.
Starting at $5,000, the opening bid amount quickly descended to $4,000, then $3,500.
"Opportunity is knocking,"Thomas told the crowd. "The county has it valued at $5,000.
"Don't be a ﾑwish I had; be a glad I did,'" he said.
Thomas dropped the opening bid to $3,000, but even at that small amount, there were no takers.
One drawback to bidding is that the property sits on "another man's" land.
The corner lot on Main Street was owned by the Richardson family for generations.
John M. Richardson, Jr., inherited it from his father, John, and in March 2008, John Musgrave Richardson, Jr., and Melisa May Richardson executed a deed transferring the land to GJ&B LLC.
The property owners were not present for the sale, nor was French's Diner owner Arlene Armstrong.
At the conclusion of the "no sale," Thomas said the tax liens remain attached to the building, but the property (building) will be returned to "Arlene Armstrong dba French's Diner."
Armstrong has removed all things removable from the building.
The tax liens, with penalties and interest, are in excess of $164,000 and are on file at the Pocahontas County Courthouse.