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$5M Picnic Basket May Soon Be Available at a Bargain

Ohio county seeking foreclosure to pay off $700K bill
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2017 8:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – Know anyone so fond of picnics they'd want to take up residence in a building shaped like a picnic basket? With $700,000, they might get the opportunity. After nine months on the real estate market, the "Big Basket" office building in Newark, Ohio, seems destined for a foreclosure auction with no one biting at its $5 million asking price, reports Bloomberg. Built in 1997 to look like one of Longaberger's baskets, the building housed the company for almost two decades before employees cleared out last year. Officials in Licking County, Ohio, are now anxious to take control in an effort to gain $700,000 in unpaid property taxes and other fees, some of which are tied to the work done on the roads around the basket, reports Consumerist.

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"The property has been referred to the Licking County Prosecutor’s office, and title work has been obtained," says a county treasurer. A prosecutor adds a complaint for foreclosure is likely to be filed within "the next few weeks." But it could be several months before an auction is possible as the case is complicated by a lawsuit between Longaberger's former owner and JRJR Networks, which took control of the company in 2013. JRJR Networks claims it was not aware at that time of what it alleges were tax liabilities reaching into the millions, reports the Columbus Dispatch; local officials say no property tax payment has been made since November 2014. Until an auction takes place, though, some locals are holding out hope that someone will turn the building into a community center or museum. (Also for sale: a largely uninhabitable village.)

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