Businessman follows through on his promise

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A prominent Saginaw businessman has put his money where his mouth is in rebuffing claims that dioxin has ruined real estate values along the Tittabawassee River, a Saginaw News investigation has found.

Dr. Samuel H. Shaheen has bought up at least six properties along the river for a combined investment of more than $800,000, property records show.

The developer says he purchased more, but he declined to elaborate on how many properties he bought or how much he paid.

"Whatever I say I'm going to do, I do," he said.

Shaheen lashed out at environmentalists during a community forum last April, saying dioxin hadn't destroyed the Tittabawassee River real estate market as some people claimed.

As proof, he announced that he and several unnamed business associates were prepared to buy any property along the river at "double (state equalized value) plus $25,000 to $50,000, depending on condition."

"The homes along the river are the most desirable in the county," he said. "Dioxin hasn't hurt anybody."

Kristine Bowman had toyed with the idea of selling her home and moving to some place smaller up north. But she worried that the dioxin hype in the media might keep her Thomas Township home from selling.

Then came Shaheen's offer.

"The timing was perfect," said Bowman, 53. "Things just fell into place."

Shaheen bought the woman's home in last June, paying double the state equalized value to the dime, property records show.

Since then, Bowman and her husband have purchased a three-bedroom home on 10 acres in the northern community of Atlanta, east of Gaylord. She said she's pleased with the deal.

"Dr. Shaheen did what he said he would," Bowman said.

Of the six properties Shaheen purchased, The Saginaw News found none that sold $25,000 to $50,000 above the assessed value.

Property records show that two properties sold at assessed value, one above and two below. The News could not locate a sales price on the sixth.

Shaheen said the sales prices are consistent with his promise almost a year ago. He said he would pay double the state equalized value plus a little extra "depending on condition."

He said some homes needed considerable improvement -- such as painting and roof work -- before they could return to the market.

Riverside resident Paul Greskowiak had hoped to work out a deal with Shaheen last July, but the request came a little late. Shaheen already had purchased a number of homes along the river and no longer was offering the "double SEV" deal, an agent told him.

The developer offered a slightly higher price than what Greskowiak paid two years before, but it wasn't quite enough to cover the fix-ups -- new windows, new floors a new roof -- that he had put into the property.

Greskowiak was looking for something closer to the assessed value, which would have earned him an extra $10,000 to $15,000 for his labor.

Still, the Thomas Township man said his dealings with the developer were positive.

"He was more than up front and fair about everything," Greskowiak said. "Like any normal sale, we were just a little bit apart."

Shaheen confirmed this week that he has resold at least one of his properties at a profit. He hopes his purchases will make a point: that riverfront properties do sell. v

Jeremiah Stettler is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9685.

2006 Saginaw News
2006 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.

For additional articles like this one, go to the Tittabawassee River Watch web site for complete coverage of the Tittabawassee River Dow Chemical dioxin contamination saga. . The Newspaper / Media page of our site contains an extensive archive of media articles dating back to January 2002. The source organization's web site link is listed to the right of the article, visit often for other news in our area. The Newspaper / Media page may be accessed by scrolling down to the bottom of the CONTENTS section and clicking on the Newspaper/Media link.