Citing unpaid taxes, Dillingham forecloses on Bingman properties

Jul 21, 2015

City becomes temporary landlord for approx. 26 tenants of Bingman rental units, and takes over Bingman property at the Harbor.

The City of Dillingham took ownership of all of James Bingman, Sr.'s properties, including the many apartment units on Fairview Drive.
Credit KDLG

On Tuesday the City of Dillingham officially announced its long coming foreclosure on all properties owned by James Bingman, Sr. According to the city, Mr. Bingman owes roughly $20,000 in real and personal taxes. The city was also awarded about $300,000 from unpaid city sales from years of operating rental properties. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more:

Audio transcript below:

A tenant at one of the apartment buildings formerly owned by James Bingman, Sr., displays the letter instructing her to send rent payments to the city now, following the foreclosure.
Credit KDLG

KDLG: The city has been fighting a lengthy battle with James Bingman, Sr., who owned some thirteen properties in Dillingham, most of which are rental units. Manager Rose Loera says this month Bingman’s time to make good on roughly $350,000 in back taxes and fees to the city ran out.

"The redemption period for Bingman to reclaim his property ended on July 11, and on July 13 City of Dillingham became owners of Jim Bingman properties," said Loera Tuesday.

Mr. Bingman could not be reached for comment Tuesday. He has not relented his dispute with the city's claims, despite a $292,000 award to the city following a civil lawsuit ruled on by Judge Pat Douglass last summer. That lawsuit was brought by the city after Bingman failed to pay many years' worth of sales tax from his rental units. Loera says he owes between approximately $20,000 more in unpaid real and personal property taxes, and she adds that the city has racked up in the neighborhood of $80,000 in legal fees in its efforts to collect from Bingman.  

As has happened in the past, Dillingham intends to collect its owed money when it auctions Bingman’s properties. Until then, the city is taking over as landlord of Bingman's rental units.

"We believe there are 26 units he had that are occupied. We believe there are not 26 places available [in town] for those people to move into," said Loera. "So we've chosen not to evict. We've asked the tenants to start to making their rental payments to us today."

Notices were posted on the doors of those Tuesday.

A consultant has been hired to manage the rentals for now, and Loera says the city hopes to sell Bingman's properties soon. All of them save for one: Bingman was the owner of a noticeably junked section of the Boat Harbor, which for years has served as an unsightly entrance to town. And that one, said Loera, the city has decided to keep.

"An ordinance was passed on July 13 saying that we are going to retain that property for public purpose, and the initial plan is to clean it up," she said, adding an estimate of a year to do so.

The city’s website has more details for current tenants of Bingman properties.

This stretch of the Boat Harbor along Kanakanak Road was owned by James Bingman, Sr., until the City of Dillingham foreclosed on all of his properties in July. The city said it does not intend to auction this property, planning rather to clean it up and put it to other public use.
Credit KDLG