Judge dismisses lawsuit against Kent County for sale of foreclosed properties


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Kent County Circuit Judge George Buth dismissed a lawsuit on Dec. 20 that was filed by a group of residential real estate agents against Kent County, Kent County Treasurer Kenneth Parrish and the Kent County Land Bank Authority.

The 11 plaintiffs filed the suit in 17th Circuit Court a few months ago, claiming that county commissioners violated a county policy on land distribution and state law when they sold 44 tax-foreclosed properties to the land bank prior to the auction the Treasurer’s office holds each year on those properties.

Kent County Corporate Counsel Dan Ophoff said the defendants filed a motion for summary disposition with the court, and Buth granted the motion saying the lawsuit had little standing.

“We’re pretty pleased,” said Ophoff, who represented the county in the case. The land bank and the Treasurer’s office were represented by separate attorneys.

The plaintiffs have 21 days to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Rusty Richter, Charlie Curtis, Jeff Fortuna, James Kane, Daniel Hibma, Greg McKee, Josh Beckett, Michael Becker, 383OG LLC, the Affordable Housing Coalition and the Keystone Realty Group filed the suit.

The Kent County Land Bank Process Subcommittee suspended its meetings in November after the suit was filed, and members said they wouldn’t meet again until the case was resolved.

County Commission Chairwoman Sandi Frost Parrish put the subcommittee together to recommend how the county should handle future sales of tax-foreclosed properties to the land bank.

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