Cluttered Front Royal property sold at auction

Attorney Daniel Pond auctions off Julia Souter's Front Royal property. Claude and Diane Dawson won the auction with a $39,000 bid. Nathan Budryk/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Julia Souter’s property at 471 Apple Jack Circle in Linden was sold at auction Thursday on the Warren County Courthouse steps. The winning bidder paid $39,000 for the property, which has been the subject of multiple Warren County cleanup efforts.

Claude Dawson and his wife Diane, both of Front Royal, were the high bidders. The couple say they live about four houses down and are familiar with the property. Dawson says he plans to flip the house.

“The lot’s worth $70,000,” said Dawson. “Me and my neighbor are going to clean it up. We plan on selling the cars. I can do the work as far as cleaning it up. I’m retired and I need something to do.”

Presiding over the auction and serving as auctioneer was Daniel Pond, an attorney based in Front Royal who has been acting on behalf of the county during the legal processes involved with the sale of the house.

“I’m happy that there were several bidders and that we got a pretty reasonable price for the property,” said Pond. “The county will be able to recover most of the money they’ve had to spend on having to clean up the property and the fact that they won’t have to have future cleanups is of great benefit to the county and to the taxpayers as well.”

Warren County officials say they hope the sale closes the book on the nearly nine-year dispute with Souter over maintenance of the property, as Souter has appealed the sale along with other efforts by the court.

“This was actually ordered in 2013 and we’ve already gone through the appeal process,” Pond said. “Our position is that she has dragged it out for as long as it can be dragged out.”

The Dawsons will be responsible for the process of removing Souter from the property, in true “as-is” fashion.

“The new owner will have to file an unlawful detainer action in general district court,” said Assistant County Attorney Dan Whitten in an email. “The judge has the discretion to determine the length of time to vacate the premises and to remove all personal property.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com