Racetrack spared from auction

MANSFIELD — The race track on the city’s
north side will sit idle again this summer.

The Mansfield Motorsports Park was
scheduled for sheriff’s sale on April 27 until
last Thursday when Richland County
Common Pleas Court Magistrate Gary
Dalbey canceled the sheriff’s sale until the
Fifth District Court of Appeals panel rules
on a legal question.

In 2010, Richland County Treasurer Bart
Hamilton filed the foreclosure on the
property at Crall Road and Ohio 545.

Hamilton said the owner of the property,
Mike Dzurilla, owes Richland County
$262,106.81 in taxes, the same amount
the sheriff’s sale bidding would begin.

County records show there are roughly
$41.4 million in liens filed against the
property, not including real estate taxes, as
of Aug. 26, 2010, Hamilton said.

Mansfield Motorsports Park’s attorney,
Robert Franco, has argued that while the
state taxed much of the property, including
the grandstand addition, as personal
property, the county taxed it as real

“Is the property real or personal? That’s
what we’re trying to get resolved here.
Which tax is correct?” Franco said Monday.

No events were held in 2011 and none are
planned for this summer at the half-mile
oval, Dzurilla said. He declined further
comment on advice of legal counsel.

Franco said Richland County is attempting
to collect real estate taxes, and the state
has a use tax lien.

“Use tax is sort of a sales tax but charged
to the buyer. In this case, when the main
improvement to the track, the asphalt and
the grandstands, the county said those are
real property and now assessed to the real
estate taxes,” he said.

Franco said the problem began in 2004
when the improvements at the track were

“That next tax year, the county started
billing real estate taxes. In 2009, the state
conducted a use tax audit. The state said
because these improvements benefited the
business and not the land, that they
retained their character as personal
property and never became real property,”