Marion moves forward with plans to place lien on mall - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Marion moves forward with plans to place lien on mall

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MARION, Ill. -- Monday, the Marion City council approved plans to try to recoup more than two million dollars in taxes. They decided to place a lien on the Illinois Star Centre Mall. 

Shoppers won't be affected, but the owners of the mall will. City leaders hope the lien puts pressure on them to pay their taxes. Mayor Anthony Rinella says the council felt they had no other choice, "We are just trying to get the upper hand here in hopes that we can, at some point in time, turn this thing around."

Marion City Attorney Steve Green says, when the mall stopped paying for taxes and bonds, the city had to take over bond payments, which, for one year, cost Marion taxpayers $480,000. And, depending on how long the mall's bankruptcy lasts, Marion could continue paying that amount for several years. 

"So instead of paying for streets and roads, that money is now going to pay for bonds," said Green.  

Green says the council has two options when they file to place a lien. They can let it sit there and hopefully put pressure on the owners to pay up or the city could eventually foreclose on the lien, which could potentially mean the city would own the mall. 

"We don't want to get into the mall business, but we want to help somebody get in it," said Rinella. 

Mayor Rinella believes the mall is in a great location and with the right developer, this could be a booming spot for businesses. 

"That's exactly what we want to do is, use that lien as a tool to help a developer come in and do something with that property," said Rinella. 

What the council did Monday night was just the beginning step in the process. They gave the city attorney the go-ahead to file the lien, but the lien will need approval from bankruptcy court. 

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