The building at 92-20 164th St., owned by notorious real estate heiress Rita Stark, was put in foreclosure proceedings and a public auction was scheduled for...
By Courtney Dentch
The former home of the Long Island Press newspaper in Jamaica may soon be on the auction block.
The building at 92-20 164th St., owned by notorious real estate heiress Rita Stark, was put in foreclosure proceedings and a public auction was scheduled for later this month, said a spokeswoman for JE Roberts, the company handling the transaction.
But the spokeswoman and Jamaica community leaders say Stark has a history of paying off fines and taxes just before properties are foreclosed on, a pattern she will likely repeat here.
I wouldnt be surprised if she called three or four days ahead and pays the fines, the spokeswoman said. Thats what she usually does. This is Stark Realty theyre known for that.
Stark manages the properties she inherited from her father in 1988, including the Long Island Press building, from the Fred Stark Realty office at 198-10 Jamaica Ave. in Hollis.
Stark, who lives in Jamaica Estates, could not be reached for comment.
According to city Department of Finance records, Stark owes more than $22,000 in property taxes on the three-story brick building. The city sold a lien on the building to the Bank of New York, which in turn enlisted the Connecticut-based JE Roberts company to try to collect on the back taxes. JE Roberts scheduled the foreclosure auction for April 30, the spokeswoman said.
The 25,000-square-foot Long Island Press building, valued at just under $900,000, is listed under the name of Rita Starks father, Fred, according to city records. Rita Stark was named executrix of her fathers estate after his death.
The Long Island Press newspaper operated out of that building until it closed in the mid-1970s. The building has been vacant since, and most of the outside windows have been boarded up.
The building has 31 open violations, including complaints that the building was left open and vacant, that the stability of the roof was affected and that the elevator was not up to code, according to the city Department of Buildings.
And while developers and business leaders who have eyed the decaying building for years hope the foreclosure auction will go ahead as planned, experience has taught them not to hold their breath.
Shell pay the fines and stop it, said Thomas Crater Jr., a local resident working to clean up the commercial area.
The city sold liens against the property to collect the taxes in 1999 and 2001, according to the Department of Finance Web site, but each time Stark paid the money owed to clear the title.
The auction was scheduled for 11 a.m. April 30 at the State Supreme Court in Jamaica, 88-11 Sutphin Blvd.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2004 Community News Group
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