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T-R PHOTOS BY LANA BRADSTREAM — Marshall County Treasurer Jarret Heil is preparing for the Monday tax sale, which will take place online and will help the county retrieve missing tax amounts from properties for the last two years.

Unpaid taxes on 583 Marshall County properties will be for sale on Monday. That does not mean the property themselves are for sale.

Marshall County Treasurer Jarret Heil said bidders will actually be trying to buy the unpaid taxes. In return, they will get a return.

“It’s a money maker for them,” he said. “They are not in business to get property. They want the interest. It is an advantage for us — the county, cities and school districts — because we get our taxes.”

The county is missing $835,000 of the $110 million in taxes Marshall County was supposed to collect in the last two-year period. The sale last year was canceled due to COVID, Heil said.

So far, there are 1,000 bidders signed up for the sale. Of those, 750 are registered with AAC 1 LLC from Des Moines, Heil said.

Kohen Retail Investment Group, the owner of the Marshalltown Mall, has not paid any taxes on the property. The last time taxes were paid was in September 2019.

“So this company will have a 75 percent chance of getting desired taxes,” Heil said.

How the sale works is bidders will submit their interest in desired properties, agreeing to pay for the missing property tax and no more. One property can have multiple bidders. A computer will then randomly pick the winning bidder.

To register for the sale, interested investors can sign up on www.iowataxauction.com.

For the property owners whose taxes are being sold, Heil said they have until 9 a.m. Monday to pay their taxes. Otherwise, the investors will have a chance. After an investor buys and then pays the missing taxes, the property owner will have three years to pay back the investor for not only the tax amount, but also 2.5 percent interest.

If for some reason, the property owner does not pay the investor back, Heil said the investor can then claim the deed to the property. Very rarely does this happen in Marshall County, he said. However, the possibility is there so investors tend to focus on properties which are not mobile homes or dilapidated.

One property that needs some work but is not dilapidated is the Marshalltown Mall – which is also on the Monday sale list.

The mall, owned by Kohan Retail Investment Group of Great Neck, N.Y., has $117,680 of unpaid taxes. Kohan owns two other properties abutting the mall which also have taxes that have not been paid totaling $72,282 and $25,190.

Heil said the last time taxes were paid on the mall was in September 2019 – two months before Kohan purchased it in November 2019 for $2.3 million. The Kohan group was purchasing malls throughout the country. In June 2020, owner Mike Kohan said the mall facilities are turned into useful properties, such as call centers, medical centers or entertainment venues.

Marshalltown City Administrator Jessica Kinser has been trying to establish contact with Kohan, but has not been successful. Knowing the mall is a vital retail space, she hopes the taxes will be paid and the property put to good use.

“We did have great communication with the owner and exciting conversations about possible retail opportunities,” Kinser said. “After August 2020 when those initial conversations were had and we told him about how the mall impacts Marshalltown and how we could work with him, I don’t know what happened.”

She does not think the Marshalltown Mall will fall into the three-year category and become property of an investor. Kinser said the mall is assessed at a greater value than what the taxes are. She hopes the reason for the nonpayment of taxes has been the financial struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The mall is part of this community,” Kinser said. “It was so important after the tornado. It is definitely a valuable space. Malls do not have to be dying spaces and Marshalltown can be proof of that. It has potential. Monday is a big day for the future and will show what will happen for the future there.”


Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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