Until the dust settles, one of Sitka’s most valuable industrial properties could remain in legal limbo.
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Southeastern Title Agency sold the TAB plant to Silver Bay Seafoods in a public outcry auction in the Sitka courthouse on April 23.
The purchase price was $1.1-million.
A few days later, Southeastern Title learned that it had improperly advertised the sale by failing to advertise on the internet.
When it tried to rescind the sale and give Silver Bay its money back, Silver Bay refused, and asked the Sitka Superior Court on May 1 for a temporary restraining order preventing Southeastern Title from rescinding the sale.
The temporary order expired on May 16. Silver Bay then asked for a preliminary injuction to preserve the sale. In its filing with the court, attorneys for Silver Bay wrote that “The harm to Silver Bay is even more certain if the Trustee rescinds the sale. At that point, Silver Bay will have lost the Property, money, business opportunities, and all other costs associated with the foreclosure sale.”
The TAB plant is next-door to Silver Bay’s processing operation. The two were both originally part of Sitka’s Alaska Pulp Corpration mill.
The injunction has been denied. Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens says he sees no irreparable harm to Silver Bay, especially if it gets its money back. Alaska law allows 10 days for a trustee to review and cancel a foreclosure sale. In addition, Stephens wrote that “the court would abuse its discretion” if it ordered Southeastern Title to convey the title without the Internet notice required by law.
The statute requiring the Internet notice was passed by the Alaska legislature in 2010.
Judge Stephens ordered a preliminary hearing on June 27 at 1 PM for scheduling the case for trial, though he wrote that “It is not clear what may remain to try.”
Southeastern Title has deposited Silver Bay’s payment for the TAB plant with the court.
Southeastern Title’s attorney, Brian Hanson, says his client intends to rescind the sale. He told KCAW that it will be readvertised “only if directed by the beneficiary.”
The beneficiary of the sale is Sitka businessman Roger Sudnikovich, one of TAB’s early investors. He was owed a total of $985,000 from TAB. He filed the foreclosure in January.
In an interesting twist, Sawmill Cove director Garry White says Sudnikovich was also the other bidder on TAB property at April’s public auction. He stopped at $1-million 60-thousand dollars.
Neither Sudnikovich or Silver Bay attorney John Young was available for comment by deadline for this story.
Until the sale goes through, or a new one is advertised and held, the current owner of record of the True Alaska Bottling plant remains Starwest Alaska.