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Owners, Ontario County going back to court over Akropolis restaurant case

A more than decade old case involving a family restaurant on 5&20 outside of Canandaigua and Ontario County isn’t over.

Even though a decision last fall made it seem that way.

Supreme Court Justice John Ark ruled last fall that Ontario County owed the owner of the Akropolis Family Restaurant nearly $300,000 based on the county’s tax sale of the restaurant in 2008 being invalid.

The exact figure was $297,687.73. But according to reporting by the Canandaigua Messenger – Ontario County won’t be cutting a check anytime soon.

“We are trying to do right by the taxpayers,” said Canandaigua City Supervisor David Baker at a recent meeting. “We feel we still have a strong case.”

So they will appeal. Again.

After losing a second appeal, the county is sending this case to the state Supreme Court Appellate Division, Fourth Department. A panel of five justices will rule on the decision rendered last fall.

Attorney Mary Jo Korona, who represents property owner Krystalo “Kristine” Hetelekides, says it could take another year to resolve. “We are very disappointed,” Korona told the Messenger Post.

The original suit dates back to 2006-2007 – when Hetelekides’ husband passed away. The property had $22,110 in backed taxes. Due to the timing of her husband’s passing – the family missed the deadline that the County said stood on the property before it would be sold.

Fortunate for Hetelekides – a family member bought the property at auction for $160,000 on her behalf.

Hetelekides took Ontario County to court over their handling of the foreclosure process. Notification was one issue, but there were several others, too.

Justice Ark denied the county’s attempt to have the case dismissed, and the county appealed.

The recent decision by Ark states the county failed to properly notify the property owner and “improperly commenced an action against the deceased party” — Kristine’s late husband, Demetrios ‘James’ Hetelekides, according to the Messenger.

Ontario County has apparently been feeling its share of criticism over its tax foreclosure policy. Critics say there isn’t enough flexibility built in to the process, and also take issue with the County pocketing excess funds beyond what is owed in back taxes.