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Mark Squillante, owner of the Mounds Mall, walks through the building with a flashlight in March 2020.

ANDERSON — The Mounds Mall is back on the tax sale rolls, but the owner is hopeful it will be removed before the sale on Sept. 23.

Mark Squillante purchased the Mounds Mall in September 2012 for $12,000 after the previous owners, the Elda Corp. decided not to redeem the property.

The current taxes owed are $567,519 by Holliday LLC on the building, and the Elda Corp. owes $135,426 on the land where the building is located.

There was a $11,619 payment on the property taxes owed on the building on July 19.

Anyone interested in buying the building or land would have to pay the back property taxes owed to Madison County.

“We’re going to petition the court to remove the property from the tax sale,” Squillante said. “It shouldn’t be on the tax sale list.”

There have been several legal issues to be resolved including one in which the previous owners sought a review of a court of appeals ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court declined to take the case, we’re just waiting for a certified document from the court clerk,” Squillante said. “It means the building is free and clear of any encumbrances. The property won’t revert back to the former owners.”

Squillante has filed two appeals on the $4.2 million assessed value of the property with the county’s Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals.

He said appeals were filed in 2020 and 2021 but no hearing has been set until the court cases were resolved.

Squillante said because the building could not be used as a result of the pending legal issues there is a question of the tax liability.

“We couldn’t lease space or start renovation work until the lawsuits were resolved,” he said.

Concerning the land where the building is located, owned by the Elda Corp, Squillante said he plans to bid on it.

“The land is not worth anything to anyone but us,” he said.

Larry Davis, Madison County assessor, confirmed continuances were requested on the two appeals filed concerning the Mounds Mall building.

“They requested a continuance until the court cases were settled,” he said.

“We will look at their evidence,” Davis said. “The laws are being researched to determine if a precedent has been set before.”

Davis said the tax issue regarding the Mounds Mall building is “unusual” and an isolated incident.

The Mounds Mall was closed permanently by the Cook family in April 2018.

Squillante said they are currently seeking investors for the revitalization of the Mounds Mall.

“An investor in Florida is interested and will be coming to Anderson to look at the building,” he said. “We are not saddled with a lot of debt; there is no debt on the building.”

Squillante intends to reopen the movie theater, possibly as soon as 2022.

The plan is to convert the mall into an event and entertainment center and Squillante remains committed to bringing in new business owners.

The goal is to encourage entrepreneurs to open small businesses in the mall with a focus on local and regional retailers.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.