Former NBA great owes back taxes to county

Robertson owes almost $200,000 in back taxes on property he owns in Fairfield and almost $2.5 million to two banks, according to court records.

The county treasurer filed a foreclosure action on Robertson’s Orchem factory on Muhlhauser Road in Fairfield in April. Butler County Judge Michael Sage ordered the property sold in a sheriff’s auction on July 19. Robertson, through his attorney on Aug. 16, asked Sage to set aside the foreclosure judgement because Robertson allegedly only learned of the Butler County proceedings the day before.

In court documents, Robertson said he has been working from his home for nearly a year because of his wife’s health issues. No one from the chemical company forwarded his mail to him. When he went to the Orchem building on Aug. 15 to meet with a consultant, he found the court documents.

Sage was supposed to hold a hearing on Thursday but it was cancelled because Robertson’s attorney appealed the foreclosure case to the 12 District Court of Appeals. He could not be reached for comment.

Sage had ordered the building sold for not less than $244,855, or the amount of real estate states taxes, assessments, interest and penalties Robertson owes. The Butler County auditor’s office valued the property at $2.9 million last year. Sheriff’s spokesman Monte Mayer said the sale has not yet been scheduled.

The former star borrowed $2 million from Tower Bank and Trust Company in 2003 for the Orchem business. The company is a specialty chemical manufacture. It makes one product that destroys bacteria.

With principal , interest and late charges, Robertson now owes them $1.8 million. He took out a second mortgage with Fifth Third Bank in 2010 for $591,637. Both banks are parties in the lawsuit. He also has been ordered to pay three companies $101,390 in unpaid bills over the past three years.

Prosecutor Mike Gmoser, whose office is handling the foreclosure for the treasurer’s office, said it was Robertson’s responsibility to give the treasurer’s office his new address and all proper notification requirements were followed. He said Sage cancelled the hearing because of the appeal.

A spokesman for Orchem said the company had no comment.

Robertson, known as the big “O,” was a Cincinnati Bearcat and played 14 years for the Cincinnati Royals. He was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970 and ended his playing career in 1974. The National Association of Basketball Coaches named him “Player of the Century” in 2000.

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