Locke

Walnut Grove Mobile Home Park in Locke.

The Citizen file

The owner of a Locke mobile home park that has been cited for multiple public health violations has filed for bankruptcy protection. 

Thelma Slater-Chapman, owner of Walnut Grove Mobile Home Park on Tucker Hill Road in Locke, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on Aug. 9, the day before Cayuga County was to auction off the property. Slater-Chapman owes the county approximately $39,000, according to her filing with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Syracuse.

Slater-Chapman's proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan said she would pay off the county debt with proceeds from a proposed $62,500 sale of the mobile home park. The money owed to the county is the only debt listed in the bankruptcy petition.

Records show Slater-Chapman has been fined by the county for multiple health code violations over approximately a decade, including a non-working sanitation system for the water supply, standing sewage in the yards of some of the homes, no water and units in disrepair.

Slater-Chapman's attorney, Maxsen Champion, said his client does have a pending purchase offer on the mobile home park. It was not clear what the prospective buyer would use the property for, nor if tenants still occupied the park. Filing for bankruptcy halted the Aug. 10 auction, Champion confirmed.

The Cayuga County Board of Health had requested the county Legislature to hire an outside law firm to deal with the matter, and it did so in May 2016 in order to execute a judgement and shut down the park. Over the last year, Cayuga County Attorney Fred Westphal had reported there were prospective buyers of the property, but those negotiations would fall through.

In an interview with The Citizen in May 2016, Slater-Chapman said she chose not to sell because the prospective buyers wanted her to fix the health code violations before selling. Westphal has given updates to legislators stating the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office would execute the judgment and sell the parcel on the steps of the Cayuga County courthouse in order to satisfy the fines. That effort has been thwarted with this bankruptcy filing.

It was not clear Monday what the county's next steps would be. Westphal could not be reached for comment. 

According to U.S. Bankruptcy Court filings, a meeting of creditors in the case is scheduled for Sept. 11 in Syracuse. A hearing to consider confirmation of the reorganization plan is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Syracuse.

Staff writer Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (315) 282-2237 or gwendolyn.craig@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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County Government Reporter