Outside company eases sheriff’s sale burden

Herald Staff Writer

On the last Tuesday of every month, in a small courtroom on the third floor of the Dubois County Courthouse, homes are auctioned off in a sheriff’s sale. The duty of running such sales is one of the many responsibilities of sheriffs across the state, but since late 2011, Dubois County has had Lieberman Technologies helping out.

The Evansville-based company helps various businesses solve issues through the use of technology. The company got started in the business of sheriff’s sales four years ago when the Vanderburgh County sheriff called and asked if the company could do something to help him with the sales. Once word got around about the business’ work in Vanderburgh County, according to company founding partner Phil Lieberman, other sheriffs wanted help too. Lieberman Technologies now handles the sheriff’s sales in 17 Indiana counties.

In Dubois County, the houses that are auctioned each month have been foreclosed on. When Donny Lampert took over the sheriff’s position in 2011 he received some training about how to run the sales, and for the first 10 months he did so with the help of others at the department.

At that time, the sheriff’s department would get a foreclosure statement from the courts that listed all foreclosures in the county and would have to get all of the paperwork ready to go. If something wasn’t done on time, the sale could be canceled.

Since Lieberman Technologies has been brought in to help, its employees have taken responsibility for nearly all the paperwork, except the public posting of the sale information. It is required that the listings be posted at the courthouse and in three public locations in the township in which the property is located.

“It saves us manpower, time, money,” Lampert said. “It really saves us a lot. The (security center) matron and I were trying to do it. There were a lot of extra weekends that I would be in (the office) getting everything sorted and ready to go.”

Running the sales also requires a lot of knowledge about the foreclosure business, which gets quite complicated. During the 10 months that Lampert did the sales, he spent a lot of time reading up on the subject.

“You literally had to learn it from bottom to top,” Lampert said. “I don’t know how many hours I spent reading. I sat and just read as much information as I could on state laws and what they said and how they’re set up.”

With the help of a Lieberman project manager, Lampert is now responsible for the paperwork of only third-party sales, meaning sold property that will be signed over to someone other than a bank. In these cases Lampert collects the money, does the paperwork and processes the deed.

Any properties that are signed back over to the bank are handled by Lieberman Technologies.
Dealing with these cases includes a trip to the assessor’s office, where the sales disclosure form is approved, and the auditor’s office, where it is verified that the names on the deed match what is on record at the courthouse. The employees at the auditor’s office then stamp and process the deed and it is sent to the recorder’s office where it is put into county records.

Lampert said hiring the Evansville company makes for easy access to yearly statistics on sheriff’s sales. At the end of each year, the company sends a chart to the sheriff’s department with all the information on what was sold. So far this year, 33 parcels have been sold at sheriff’s sales. The number of parcels sold each month ranges from 14 this past April to as few as one in May.

The company also provides an electronic version of the records, something the department didn’t have before.

“The odds of any of the records getting lost is smaller,” Lampert said. “There are so many different backups. I’ve got mine and they’ve got theirs. Plus I’ve got the notes I take down each month (at the courthouse).”

Each bank that has a foreclosed house on a sheriff’s sale is required to pay the sheriff’s department a fee of $140, $100 of which is passed on to Lieberman. Lampert said hiring the company is saving the county money because the sheriff’s sales now require less work for county employees.

“If (hiring outside companies) is going to cost the county money, I don’t want to do it,” Lampert said. “But if it’s going to save the county money plus help the economy in the area, why not?”

Contact April Dittmer at newsintern@dcherald.com.

More on DuboisCountyHerald.com