School sale falls through

Friday, June 5, 2009
Tribune photo by Karen Hall Bidders and spectators enjoy the March 20 sunshine during the auction of the old Connelly school building. In the doorway, from left, are local real estate agents Matt and Grover Collins, and Jason and David Jent.

The sale of a local school building to an out-of-town buyer has fallen through, confirmed the auctioneer.

"It did not close -- that's correct," said Bob Bugg of the Bob Parks Auction Company in Murfreesboro. Bugg sold the old Connelly School building for $21,000 to a telephone buyer on March 20.

The buyer was Stream of God Bible School and Seminary, based in McAllen, Texas.

"They never could come up with the money," said Bugg, ruefully. "That does happen from time to time."

A telephone call Thursday to the seminary was answered by a man, who said the school was still "in negotiations" to purchase the building.

When asked for his name, the telephone line went dead and two subsequent calls went unanswered. A message was left, asking for the seminary's side of the story.

Bugg is looking ahead. "We're still going to try to sell it," he confirmed.

When he was asked about the sale not going through, former mayor Bob Phillips said, "I was not surprised at all -- when I saw who bought it."

Phillips noted that having a church buy the building was not a financial advantage for the city "because churches don't have to pay property taxes."

"It would be great to see it go to somebody local," Phillips said. "Somebody who has some money - it would take a lot of money to get it in useful condition. You hate to see a neighborhood landmark like that just go away."

The recorded owner of the property at 330 5th Avenue North remains "Central Park of Marshall County," whose registered agent is Loval Jobe. Recently, the grass around the building has been noticeably in need of mowing.

"I've sent a letter to the owner (Jobe) to get that mowed," said Greg Lowe, Lewisburg Codes Enforcement Officer. "He's got 10 days, then either the city will mow it and send him the bill, or we'll cite him into city court."

Jobe has had financial problems with his business lately, too. A report on file at the Marshall County Sheriff's Department states that Capt. Sam Bragg and Deputy Eli Stuard informed him last week that "he had to take care of his ...back taxes by Monday, June 1, or seizure of the property would take place."

The taxes were taken care of, and, as of Wednesday, the two Domino's Pizza stores which Jobe operates (Lewisburg and Chapel Hill) remained open for business.

Repeated attempts to contact Jobe by telephone were unsuccessful.