Judge Wayne Marik accepted a Racine company's last-minute bid on Monday to purchase a trucking depot at 2301 S. Memorial Drive that was caught up in the SC Johnson bribery scandal.
Marik's ruling paves the way for Leonard Investments to buy the building and continue to lure an out-of-town tire recycling company to Racine.
American Tire & Recycling is planning to open a production facility at the Memorial Drive trucking depot. Leonard Investments expressed an interest in buying the building and leasing it out to American Tire & Recycling, but those plans were complicated when a third buyer entered the picture.
Elite Systems LLC, which is housed in the building, submitted a bid to the court to buy the depot for $460,000 on Jan. 6. American Tire & Recycling balked at working with Elite Systems, according to a city official. The company threatened to bail on the Racine deal and open its recycling business in Burlington, the official said.
That left the city scrambling to support Leonard Investments' bid to, hopefully, bring in American Tire and Recycling's 88 jobs, the official said. The jobs were particularly appealing to Racine leaders because the company offered low-skill jobs that will reduce the city's soaring unemployment rate.
The city got some help from SC Johnson, which stands to profit from the sale of 2301 S. Memorial Drive. The building was awarded to the company as part of $147 million in damages awarded to SC Johnson in the Milt Morris corruption trial.
SC Johnson supported Leonard Investments' $470,000 bid for the building, according to court records. The company will make about $200,000 on the sale, minus a $215,000 mortgage on the property and additional transaction costs.
Leonard Investments, owned by Rick Leonard, who also owns Floyd's Trucking in Racine, will take over the property, which currently holds leases for three businesses. Siam Transportation, ABF Freight Systems and Elite Systems are all located in the building, according to court records.
Leonard didn't return a message left at Floyd's Trucking on Monday. An employee at Elite Systems said they were unaware of any sale involving the building.
An employee at Elite Systems said Monday they didn't know anything about the sale of the building.
When asked if the city was happy with Marik's ruling, a city official simply gave a thumbs up.