Detroit — The Masons have won their legal battle over who owns Detroit’s Masonic Temple, the largest building of its kind.
“We won! All counts related to any claims of ownership of the Masonic is over. It it is clearly owned by the Masons,” said Bradley Dizik, special adviser to the Masonic Temple’s board of trustees.
Dizik was referring to a Tuesday ruling by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Leslie Kim Smith that dismissed claims by a former management company they had an ownership stake in the institution, according to Dizik, who is attorney and a consultant in the case.
The Masonic Temple Association of Detroit, which owns the Masonic Temple, booted the management company, Halberd Holdings, out of the facility in 2012. The association claimed, among other things, that Halberd was ruining the temple’s reputation by not paying its bills and hiring felons.
It came at time when the 1,037-room facility faced a financial crisis. The News revealed in April the Cass Corridor institution owed Wayne County $152,000 in back taxes. It faced being sold at the annual auction of foreclosed properties.
Bidding for the 14-story Gothic structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, would have started at $160,000. The Mason’s claimed that it was never in danger of being sold in foreclosure and they had worked out a deal with county officials.
But the news motivated Detroit-born rocker Jack White to step forward, out of the blue, and pay the tax bill.