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Norway's Odd Fellows to be auctioned off
NORWAY — The Odd Fellows Building at 380 Main Street in Norway will be auctioned off March 15 for breach of mortgage conditions, according to public notice issued by TD Bank N.A. attorney Edward MacColl.
Eight other properties owned by New Horizon Capital Investment LLC., the company operated by Dawn and Harvey Solomon, of Harrison, will also be publicly auctioned in the wake of a $4 million judgment against felon Dawn Solomon.
The properties, which include 14 and 16 Orchard Street, 21 and 24 Cottage Street, 34 Greenleaf Avenue — all in Norway — and 172 Main Street, Norway, one of the two buildings raided by local, state and federal agencies July 13, 2010. The other, 180 Main Street, has been sold.
In addition, 35 Skillings Avenue and 44 Gothic Street in Paris will also be auctioned.
For Sale signs have languished on five of the properties, including the Odd Fellows building, which was priced at $179,000 but had recently been reduced to $159,900, according to the listing agent's website.
Accord to published reports, the Solomons purchased the three-story brick building, which housed the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge No. 16., in July 2008 for $63,500 from Northeast Bank in Lewiston, which held the mortgage. At that time, Harvey Solomon said they hoped to place an up-scale restaurant on the first floor, offices in the second floor and apartments or even condominiums on the third floor after an extensive renovation of both the exterior and interior.
"The Odd Fellows building, along with the Opera House and the former Cummings Mill property [now owned by Stephens Memorial Hospital], is the heart of downtown Norway," said Norway Downtown President Andrea Burns. "Ownership of the Odd Fellows building is an opportunity to help create a comprehensive plan for Main Street's future."
"At least this public auction in an action step," Burns continued, "it is providing an opportunity ... ."
In spite of some recent restoration work — the reinforcement of the rear wall of the building and the renovation of the building's facade — Burns noted that the building, and much of Main Street, has suffered from years and years of apathy.
"A public auction of the Odd Fellows building needs to serve the interests of our downtown revitalization," Burns concluded. "And these three properties [the Opera House and former Cummings Mill land] should, or need to, be seen and treated as a unit," she stressed.
Of the other properties listed for sale, 14 Orchard Street listed for $138,000; 16 Orchard Street for $139,900 and 34 Greenleaf Avenu for $139,000.
Twelve of the properties owned by the Solomons through New Horizon Capital Investment have unpaid taxes, according to town records, amounting to roughly $26,146, including:
- 172 Main St., office building, for sale, tax bill $2,311.40
- 180 Main St., office building, sold, tax bill $2,427.10
- 380 Main St., Odd Fellows Building, for sale, tax bill $1,842.10
- 34 Greenleaf Ave., house, for sale, tax bill $2,205.30
- 14 Orchard St., two-family house, for sale, tax bill $1,878.50
- 16 Orchard St., house, for sale, tax bill $1,745.90
- 21 Cottage St., apartment building, tax bill $2,278.90
- 24 Cottage St., apartment building, tax bill $3,989.70
New Horizons Capital Investments co-Principal Dawn Cummings Solomon owes taxes on the following property, according to town records.
- 144 Pikes Hill Road, house, tax bill $2,993.90
- 10 Alpine St., house, tax bill $1,766.70
- 43 Tucker St, 0.20 acre, tax bill $291.20
11 Pearl St., two-family house, tax bill $2,421.90
According to the Norway Town Office, regardless of what happens to the properties, the taxes will still be paid — either by the bank or by the new owners, as the town will put a lien against each property for the amount of unpaid taxes.
Agents from the Office of the Maine Attorney General, Maine State Police and the Oxford County Sheriff's Office were joined by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the U.S. Inspector General, Health and Human Services division, and raided the two properties executing search warrants. The investigation centered around healthcare fraud.
According to Assistant Attorney General Michael Miller, Solomon admitted to overbilling, submitting false reports through the Living Independence Network Corporation (LINC) to the state for reimbursement. Miller said evidence was seized at the LINC office and those of other Solomon-controlled businesses nearby on Norway's Main Street, in July.
When asked why the state had not seized the multiple properties owned by the Solomons and New Horizon, Miller declined comment.
She also declined comment on whether Harvey Solomon would be charged.
Dawn Solomon, 42, pled guilty December 17 to felony theft and was ordered to pay $4 million in restitution. She was released on $10,000 unsecured bail. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday, February 18. The agreement in place with the state with regard to restitution and sentencing, is before the court for approval.
Solomon lives with her husband and business partner, Harvey Solomon, in Harrison in a house valued, according to town records, at close to $1 million.