In response to the article in the Times-Herald Newspapers regarding unpaid property taxes on the Garrison Oaks Condominium development, I feel compelled to write this letter. I want everyone to clearly understand that I am a member of the corporation that build this development but not legally responsible for its obligations. However, because of the concern this situation has caused many in this community, I am personally promising to pay the taxes on behalf of the organization in the next 30 days.
I want to offer a sincere apology to everyone who has been affected by this issue especially my colleagues on the City Council and the mayor of the great city of Dearborn. I also want to apologize to the citizens of Dearborn for any unrest this matter may have caused them.
As you may know, the Garrison Oaks Condominium development was intended to use an underdeveloped and underutilized parcel of land in downtown west Dearborn. The plan was to build 11 condominium units and sell each unit. This plan started in late 2003, construction began in 2004, and the first units were sold in 2006. Unfortunately, after completing a majority of the construction and incurring a significant portion of the $1.975 million in development costs, the real estate market began its downward spiral, which has had a significant impact in our community. This development, like most homeowners, Ford Motor Co. and businesses throughout Michigan, has not been immune to the economic downturn, decline in the housing market, or the financial crisis and conditions of recent times.
These factors put an unusual and uncontrollable financial burden on this development. The first priority from planning stages through the most recent times was to complete the project that was started, create a high quality condominium site, and respect the expectations of the current condominium owners and neighbors in the area. In this effort, financial decisions were made to prioritize the available financial resources and objectives. In the end, all of the units have been issued certificates of occupancy. Four of the units are still held by the development company as registered rental properties and have tenants.
The combination of the unique, unpredictable, and devastating financial circumstances beyond my control are the reasons that the real estate property taxes owed by the corporation are not yet paid. There is also one other commercial property owned by a corporation that is in the same situation due to the culmination of economic hardships.
Again, I am sorry that the corporation is in this position. I am also sorry for the unrest this unavoidable situation has caused. That is why I am taking this step to resolve this matter to the best of my ability.
I hope this promise to pay will be considered as a genuine attempt to put this issue behind all of us. I truly enjoy serving the people of Dearborn, and I do not want to jeopardize my position on our Council, the integrity of the Council, and other elected officials. As you contemplate your course of action, please consider the contents of this letter, the circumstances I have outlined, my personal character, my record as Dearborn councilman, my desire to serve the people of Dearborn, and, most importantly, the resolution noted that will correct this matter.
Robert A. Abraham
City of Dearborn