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Potential buyer fails to appear for Fort Drum Vehicle Storage purchase

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The Fort Drum Vehicle Storage building saga continues.

The woman who successfully bid on the former Fort Drum Vehicle Storage warehouse on West Main Street failed to arrive Friday for a closing on the property.

Ruby C. “Charlene” Williams, who bid $125,000 for the building at 753 Rear W. Main St., said she was surprised to hear her attorney had not talked with city Comptroller James E. Mills about the situation. She blamed missing the closing on suffering from “walking pneumonia” and planned to call Mr. Mills immediately to straighten it out before City Hall closed at 5 p.m. She then could not be reached to comment a few minutes later to see if she talked with the comptroller.

Ms. Williams is the chief fiscal officer for the company, which was formed in 2005 to serve deploying soldiers in need of a place to store their vehicles. The owners, JoAnn Sanchez-Norquist and John S. Norquist, lost the building after failing to pay $17,776.37 in back taxes.

It was unclear Friday night what happens next.

Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith said he is “not worried about the situation,” noting that there were multiple bidders for the building at the public auction and one of them may end up with the property if it does not work out with Ms. Williams.

If she does not end up buying the building, Ms. Williams will lose the $12,500 deposit she put on the building the night of the auction. She was required to give the city 10 percent of the successful bid that night. She would forfeit the bid and the city would keep it, Mr. Smith said.

The councilman expects the situation to come up at Monday night’s Watertown City Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the third-floor council chambers at City Hall, 245 Washington St.

On Thursday, the Watertown Local Development Corp. decided to start collection procedures against the Fort Drum Vehicle Storage company for being delinquent on a $40,000 loan taken out to help form the company.

In July, the owners of Fort Drum Vehicle Storage promised they would start making double payments, including interest and late fees, to get back on track with the loan. They paid only that month.

As a result, the WLDC, also known as the Watertown Trust, will instruct its attorney to initiate collection procedures for the $28,456 still owed to the economic development agency.

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