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Michigan lieutenant governor selling troubled real estate

January 31, 2019
In a photo from Jan. 30, 2019, Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II's apartment building is shown. Gilchrist says he's selling his building for $190,000. He bought it from the Detroit Land Bank for $13,500 in 2016 but it remains vacant. The property became a campaign issue last fall when neighbors complained that the building still was a mess two years later. The Land Bank says Gilchrist won't have to pay anything to the agency because he's selling the property for less money than he put into it. (AP Photo/Ed J. White)

DETROIT (AP) — Don’t look for Michigan’s new lieutenant governor on a home makeover show.

Garlin Gilchrist II is selling a fire-damaged Detroit apartment building at a loss after spending about $226,000 to try to revive it. He got the vacant building from the Detroit Land Bank Authority for just $13,500, benefiting from a 50 percent discount because he was a city employee in 2016.

The property became an issue in the fall campaign when neighbors complained about the eyesore. Gilchrist at the time said he’d made progress but acknowledged that it wasn’t “in the state that I want it to be in.” He said he was struggling to get loans.

Records obtained by The Associated Press show Gilchrist is selling the eight-unit building to a real-estate company for $190,000. The Land Bank still needs to approve the deal.

“We are currently vetting that buyer to make sure they meet our eligibility requirements, and all parties hope to close on the sale soon,” Land Bank spokeswoman Alyssa Strickland told the AP.

Gilchrist won’t owe anything to the agency because he’s selling the property at a loss, she said.

“We have spent $225,798.90 on this project,” Gilchrist said in a Jan. 5 email to the Land Bank, “and will therefore not be making any profit on this sale.”

He was tapped as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Democratic running mate after he raised his profile in 2017 during an unsuccessful run for Detroit city clerk. Whitmer defeated Republican nominee Bill Schuette in November.

“Lt. Gov. Gilchrist is focused on his role as lieutenant governor and serving the residents of Michigan,” spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said Thursday when asked what spurred the sale. “That’s it. Nothing more to add.”

Emails released by the Land Bank show Gilchrist was repeatedly reminded about deadlines to obtain financing and get the property in shape. He cleaned up the building’s exterior during the election campaign after the agency threatened to repossess the property, which has a temporary fence around the front.

Gilchrist said he was lining up $460,000 in loans, but the financing apparently fizzled. He was upbeat about the rehab a year ago.

“Our project will serve as an anchor for the future of the area and has already inspired others to work to improve their houses,” Gilchrist said in a loan application shared with the Land Bank.

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Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwhiteap

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