By Frederick Bader and Blake Spurney
HALSTEAD –The auction for the Halstead Hospital building scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled after the current owner, Azzy Reckess, brought in payment for the back taxes owed on the hospital building and associated properties.
Harvey County Treasurer Becky Fields confirmed to the Independent Friday that Jeremy Schrag, Reckess’ attorney, remitted a cashier’s check from a Connecticut bank for $672,765.44, enough to cover back taxes on the Halstead Hospital building and other properties owned by Reckess' company, AZP Realty. The check, signed by Reckess’ wife Paula, was presented to the county late Thursday afternoon.
On Monday, county administrator John Waltner confirmed that the check had cleared and would cover all of the back taxes and penalties that were in the tax foreclosure sale.
Waltner said the $672,765.44 will be distributed among three local entities from which the taxes were delinquent: USD 440, the City of Halstead, and Harvey County. Each governing body will receive roughly a third of the total. “It provides additional revenue, there’s no question,” Waltner said. Approximately $155,000 of that total was due to penalties and interest, according to county counselor Greg Nye.
In an interview with the Independent, Reckess confirmed that he had paid off the taxes and that he had plans for the building in the future. “I always have plans for the properties,” Reckess said. He declined to comment on what those plans are.
To read more, see this week's print edition.