It may not be the ceremonial burning families requested, but victims of Lewes pediatrician Earl Bradley will soon no longer have to see the buildings where Bradley committed his crimes.
Bradley's BayBees Pediatrics offices, which have been sitting vacant since the doctor's arrest in December 2009, will be razed to the ground, according to attorney Robert Gibbs, who represents Fulton Bank, formerly Delaware National Bank, which retook possession of the property at a May sheriff's sale.
Gibbs could not say when the buildings will be torn down.
“Delaware National Bank foreclosed the mortgage and bought it back at sale because there were no bids,” he said.
Gibbs said the sale was confirmed June 24, and not long after that, the bank entered into an agreement with a third party to assign its bid, meaning the third party will complete the process by accepting a deed from the Sheriff’s Office to the property.
Gibbs said the property is still owned by the Bradley Family LLC, but the bank now has the right to get a sheriff’s deed to the property. The deed will be taken in the name of the third party, which Gibbs said is an limited liability company. He would not name the company or say where it is located.
“I don’t think they really want the news out. They’re going to do the right thing as soon as they can, but I just don’t think they want publicity,” Gibbs said.
Also affecting the sale is a racketeering suit filed by the Department of Justice against Bradley. The state held off on the discovery phase of that case until the resolution of Bradley’s criminal trial. According to a letter from the Justice Department to Judge Joseph Slights III, the state will move to have the stay lifted and apply to have a resolution by default as soon as Bradley’s criminal case is resolved.
Gibbs said by filing the racketeering action, the state applied for a tentative lien on Bradley’s real property and personal property.
“It’s like a lien, but we don’t know how much, and we don’t know for sure if it’s going to end up being a final lien,” Gibbs said. A tentative lien remains in place until a court rules the lien is justified, he said. "If the party that goes in and argues against the lien wins, then the lien is removed. If they lose, then they make a determination of how much the lien is,” he said.
Gibbs said right now, there is a tentative, unknown amount against Bradley’s personal property, including the random toys and structures that have been lying around the property following Bradley’s arrest. Gibbs said the judgment would perfect the lien on the personal property.
“They’re supposed to be doing that relatively quickly now, since we got a verdict last Thursday,” he said.
Gibbs said as soon as that moves ahead, the state needs to remove the personal property. Once that and another legal matter involving a billboard near the property are resolved, the buildings can be destroyed. Gibbs said his best guess is that the state could get its lien and remove the personal property within the next 30 to 60 days.
“The new owner can’t tear down the buildings when the state’s got a lien on the personal property. We don’t want to disrupt the state’s proceedings,” Gibbs said.
He said he has received some letters from people requesting the bank tear down the buildings or burn them to the ground.
“It’s understandable that people would be upset. It’s an ungodly terrible thing. The bank just had a mortgage against the property. The bank never had the right to just tear the properties down. They are just a secure creditor,” Gibbs said. “It’s just a little more complicated than what people thought.”
He said Fulton Bank has been made whole, having been owed $303,500 on two mortgages Bradley had on the property. Gibbs said the bank got only what it was owed. He said he has not discussed what the third party will do with the land once the buildings come down, only that the party wants to get in there and get rid of the buildings as soon as possible.