Previous Bidders Say Sarasota County’s Auction of Surplus Lots in North Port Had Problems

Past Problems with Surplus Lot Auction

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - Remember those almost 200 lots that we told you about in North Port that are being auctioned off?

It’s been the talk of the town and based off of the reaction we’ve received from our viewers everyone’s excited about them. However, we’re also now hearing the other side of it. Some residents participated in a previous bid and have nothing to show for it.

“We followed the rules. Played by the rules and got nothing,” John Stevenson said.

During last year’s public auction, there was a $5,000 minimum bid, and you had to show proof of funds before your offer could be accepted. They were due by October 14, 2019. Stevenson received an email that he won 17 of those lots, and that the next step was for a board meeting to happen to schedule closing dates. He set aside almost $90,000, waiting for the county to get back to him.

“I try to invest smartly, so I didn’t buy anything else. I passed on all kinds of properties that I would’ve normally bought, but since I had all my money here, I didn’t want to stiff the county. Then I find out, just the other day, that they said they’re going to re-do the whole thing. ‘Sorry about your luck,’” Stevenson explained.

So why? What happened? Well, Sarasota County sent us the following statement:

“It was determined that the previous mechanism used to declared these lots surplus, did not adequately satisfy the county code requirements during the review process. Therefore, the properties would need to be officially declared surplus by the Board of County Commissioners, and the bid period re-opened after such declaration.”

"Legal should have never allowed any of this to happen. It just doesn’t make any sense,” Stevenson said, “All this was, was government waste… You and I are paying their wages to pay for all of this. All this was was a waste of money and time.”

As for the bidders who won 163 lots last time, they could still have hope.

“They just said you could resubmit all your bids or we’ll just accept the bids you have now. They said that’s what we’ll do for you since you went through all that trouble,” Stevenson told us.

Stevenson said that because this round of land auction was so publicized, it’s highly unlikely that his offers would win.

Bidding is open until March 2nd on the Sarasota County’s website.

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