Bank to retake control of BayBees property

No bidders for Bradley's former offices
The former offices of Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley were taken control of by Fulton Bank, which had two mortgages on the property, after a May 17 sheriff's sale turned up no bidders. BY RYAN MAVITY
May 17, 2011

Fulton Bank will take control of the former offices of Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley after a sheriff’s sale yielded no bidders.

Fulton Bank, formerly Delaware National Bank, owned two mortgages on Bradley’s BayBees Pediatrics offices. Because there were no bids at the Tuesday, May 17 sheriff’s sale, the property will be redeeded back to Fulton Bank. If anyone had bid on the property, the bidder would have had to pay off the two mortgages – the first valued at $225,000 and the second at $78,500.

The bank is essentially foreclosing on the property, which is technically still owned by Bradley Family LLC. Once the sale is confirmed Friday, June 24, the future of the property will be at the bank's discretion.

Tina Timmons, the sheriff sale deputy for Sussex County, said, “This was strictly a mortgage foreclosure. It wasn’t put up due to delinquent taxes; it was due to the fact that he defaulted on his mortgage.”

It would be up to Fulton whether the bank destroys the buildings or renovates them. The offices are clearly in bad shape from outside appearances, but Robert Gibbs, attorney for Fulton Bank, said if the property were sold, it would likely be sold as is.

Fulton is not responsible for paying the $4,000 deposit normally required on Sheriff’s sales. Timmons said the bank would have to pay any fees due the Sheriff’s office, any outstanding taxes and utility costs and the cost of advertising the sale.

She said multiple mortgages could complicate matters because any bidders would have to satisfy both mortgages to take control of the property.

Timmons said some potential out-of-state bidders showed interest in the property but did not place a bid.

Gibbs said the bank has a right to get a deed to the property once the sale is confirmed. The bank could go a few different ways if it chooses to get a deed to the property, the simplest being selling the land to a third-party buyer. Gibbs said Fulton Bank is only looking to collect the nearly $300,000 it is owned from the two mortgages.

Complicating things is a civil racketeering suit filed by the Attorney General’s Office in January 2010. The suit put a lien on Bradley’s assets in order to preserve their worth for the victims. Gibbs said the state’s lien came after the bank’s mortgages, meaning the bank would be entitled to collect what it is owed on Bradley’s real property – the land and the buildings on it.

He said the state has discharged its lien towards Bradley’s real property but still has a lien on Bradley’s personal property – such as any office equipment still at BayBees, the Ferris wheel and Volkswagon Beetle that once sat out front. Gibbs said the personal property is still owned by Bradley Family LLC; the state and Bradley’s family would have to work together to dispose of the personal property. Gibbs said he hopes the two sides would have that worked out before the June 24 sale confirmation date.

Bradley is awaiting a Wednesday, June 1 trial on charges of rape and exploitation of more than 100 of his child patients. He will have a bench trial, not a jury trial, although Judge William C. Carpenter has not decided whether the trial will be in New Castle or Sussex County Superior Court.

The sheriff sale did not appear to attract victim family members; it certainly attracted more media attention than buyers. For Timmons, despite the attention the case brought on her office for the day, it was business as usual.

“Other than the fact that it’s Bradley’s, it’s not any different from any other property we would sell on any given day,” Timmons said.


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