(12/09/2008)
The Calhoun Commission purchased back the old Minnora School property from the Calhoun County Committee on Aging during yesterday's meeting.

The transaction will clear-up problems that have surfaced over the property, with the county now leasing a section of the land to the CCCOA for 99 years and then putting the main buildings and land back on the auction block.

The correction was recommended by prosecutor Shelly Morris DeMarino.

An attorney for Bruce Allen Pipeline, the outfit that recently purchased the main buildings from the CCCOA for $50,100, claims the property should have been put out for bid when the commission sold the property to the CCCOA in 2005 for $50,000.

The commission followed a written opinion from former Prosecuting Attorney Matt Minney, saying bidding was not required since the property sale was to another political subdivision.

Allen's attorney contended CCCOA does not meet the legal definition of a political subdivision of state government, an issue that CCCOA Director Mike Richie says has presented itself in the past in other counties in WV.

"It is a gray area and it still causes occasional problems in these kind of situations," said Ritchie, although senior centers operate on taxpayer money, their vehicles use government license plates and operate under other governmental guidelines.

"While everyone dealt in good faith, it is another example of the complexity of law," Ritchie said.

The CCCOA wanted a section of the land to build a new senior center, which has since been completed.

Ritchie then auctioned off the remaining property to the highest bidder, which included the school building, a gym and other real estate.

After the Minnora school was closed, the property had been used by the Minnora Community Center for several years under a long term lease with the county, but was returned to county ownership after problems surfaced over money and management of the center.


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