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Business Owner Worried About Foreclosure Auction

Janette Wilson of Sipping Pretty Wine Consultants is concerned about how foreclosure proceedings against her landlord might affect her young business.

Next week three buildings on Harford Road could be auctioned off as part of foreclosure proceedings against their owner.

Janette Wilson, whose business Sipping Pretty Wine Consultants occupies 7915 Harford Road, is concerned about how the auction sale of the building and those surrounding it will affect her nascent business.

The sale of the buildings at 7913, 7915 and 7917, to be conducted by A.J. Billig and Company Auctioneers, is part of a Baltimore County Circuit Court foreclosure case against Alltrust Realty, LLC—the Towson-based holding company owned by Wilson's landlord Richard A. Klemkowski.

Wilson, who said she's invested close to $28,000 dollars in the building between rent and renovations, is worried that whoever buys the building at auction could evict her or raise the modest rent she pays for the space.

"I’m extremely worried because one, I don’t know who is going to be the new landlord," Wilson said. "I've been told our lease is null and void—everything I did in this space I did thinking 'I've got 3 years on this cheap 750 dollar lease.'"

For her part, Wilson said that since she received documents related to the foreclosure sale, its been an emotional rollercoaster.

"Today is the first day I expressed anger rather than hurt and tears.. I can get through a conversation without crying," she said. "My whole security blanket has been pulled out from under my feet," she said.

Reached for comment by phone, building owner Richard A. Klemkowski said that he's been working hard to get the building rented.

"It's the economy," Klemkowski said. "I've been breaking my back trying to get the building rented. Since I took that block over two years ago, I've been trying to get a tenant in. It's not that I'm behind on the mortgage."

Klemkowski owns a number of properties in the Parkville area, including the Bingo Hall and late last year expressed interest in purchasing the Lavender Avenue parking lot at a Baltimore County Revenue Authority meeting.

"I'm a community guy," Klemkowski said. "You've seen me at the meetings, I'm trying to make this work."

Still, Klemkowski said that there is a chance the auction sale could be called off.

"Hopefully [the bank will] make up [its] mind. They have a full package that should be approved. They said they could call it off. I’m working hard," he said. "If it does go that far, it's not like a new buyer is likely to kick a tenant out. They need tenants to pay the mortgage."

If the bank does not decide to call the auction off, the buildings will go on the block at 11 a.m. Oct. 4.

Richard Dubose III, the attorney with Baltimore-based law firm Gebhardt & Smith who brought the foreclosure case, said that he could not comment on the proceedings.

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