LOGAN— A Fairfield County resident is suing a Pickaway County resident over a proposed land sale worth over half a million dollars, claiming that the seller pulled out of the deal, breaching the sale contract.

At issue are around 20 acres of land in Benton Township. According to a legal complaint filed Dec. 17 in Hocking County Common Pleas Court, the owner, Terry Thompson of Circleville, entered into a contract in November 2019, agreeing to sell the property to Cris Krista of Pickerington for $575,000.

According to the terms of the contract, Krista was to pay $1,000 to Thompson on the first of each month, starting on Dec. 1, 2019. The balance of the selling price had to be paid by Dec. 1, 2021, or the contract would be void.

At the beginning of 2021, the lawsuit says, Thompson “began expressing concern as to his liability for capital gains taxes” once Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. During the summer of 2021, Thompson expressed interest in arranging what is known in the Internal Revenue Code as a Section 1031 transaction.

According to an IRS fact sheet, a 1031 transaction allows a person who makes a financial gain from selling a business or investment property to postpone paying taxes on the gain, if they reinvest the proceeds from the sale in similar property as part of a qualifying like-kind exchange.

Krista’s legal complaint says that Thompson told Krista he had hired a Columbus law firm to set up a 1031 transaction.

In October 2020, the lawsuit claims, Krista contacted Thompson through legal counsel to inquire about closing the land sale. Thompson replied by email, again talking about a 1031 deal. Then at an in-person meeting between the two parties in November, Thompson again indicated that he was still working on such an arrangement.

When Krista contacted Thompson through counsel on Dec. 1 to get closing instructions, the suit alleges, Thompson reported that he was terminating the sale contract because it had expired.

Krista alleges that this constitutes a breach of contract, and that Krista is entitled to a court order compelling Thompson to follow through on the property sale.

In addition, Krista is seeking compensatory damages of at least $25,000, punitive damages of up to three times compensatory damages, and attorney’s fees.

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