The department’s failure to confer a title because no agreement had been reached thus far has disappointed citizens who sought a title in only as a minor matter in an older case.
Attorney Gen. Kathe Tutt Robinson has approved a certificate of title for Hugh Dorsey, who has owned two subdivisions for close to 50 years. Dorsey will never be able to collect anything from tenants or mortgagers at the two subdivisions that are known as Idaho and Stockbridge. Instead, he will receive only about $500 annually until the entire situation is resolved.
Attorneys in the Attorney General’s office and Tom Towle, who represents the purchasers, met with county officials in Helena on Monday, but they did not receive an understanding.
“There are currently no terms in terms of what the two parties are willing to do,” said Adams County Justice Court Judge Terry Wilson.
State records say the terms involved involve the value of the property of $4.3 million. A county administrative order had previously noted there were serious discrepancies over the value.
The 80-lot development in Idaho consists of three condominiums. About 200-250 have bought the units at its closing days between 1970 and 1980, when the market for condominiums was strong. A similar, 80-lot subdivision in Stockbridge consists of eight condos, records show.
At the County Courthouse in Helena on Monday, the largest group of public commenters was against the concept of granting Dorsey title to the two subdivisions, despite their small potential, at least in his favor. Several said the county had not even contacted residents of the two subdivisions to try to figure out how many people will be affected.
Still others said they felt the state should be willing to bend a little, in the name of justice, though they don’t believe Dorsey has a case.
“We’re all in favor of this case being resolved,” said Sandy Wegman, who lives in Stockbridge. “The question is whether we can afford to have this ruling overturned and the blight removed.”
Most disagreed with some aspects of the attorney general’s decision, including the title for not in a majority of the subdivisions, as well as the value of the property. In some cases, some noted, they owned less than 1 percent of the property that could be affected.
Elaine Bailey said she and her husband both bought the property years ago but had not looked at it since. They’re not interested in pursuing legal action over the property, she said.
“We’re not going to discuss those kinds of legal issues,” Bailey said. “We’re looking forward to a situation where people will have a chance to move on with their lives.”