Historical Society members were practically in disbelief Wednesday as Darryl McGuire auctioned off ornate woodwork and chandeliers that contractors were prying out of the home at 309 Washington St. N.E., Warren.
''This just breaks my heart,'' Isabel Seavey said.
''Why is this happening without any historical review?'' said Cindee Mines, watching one man give $250 for his high bid on a detailed wooden archway leading from the foyer to the front room of what were law offices for attorney Joseph Ohlin, who abandoned the building and residence and is now in danger of losing his law license.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Joe Mileto, left, and his business partner, Bob Protain, both of Youngstown, remove the molding from around an oak fireplace that they bought at the auction of this historical Warren home Thursday.
McGuire continued bidding on oak fireplace mantels that surrounded colorful glass tiles and mounted around an etched mirror. The piece went for another $250.
Heavy wooden pocket doors were sold off with stained glass windows, and even the crown molding and hardwood floors were sold by current owner Michael Gianoutsos of Warren.
''We would have taken possession of this place a half-hour ago if we could have,'' said Matt Miller, who heads up Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, which is in the nonprofit business of boarding up abandoned homes but also preserving salvagable homes, especially those with historic value.
In the case of the Washington home, Ohlin and partners bought the place in 1989 for $69,700 and Ohlin lost it in foreclosure before Gianoutsos bought it for $68,000 in 2005 at a sheriff's sale.
Gianoutsos let Ohlin stay there under a rental or land contract deal that ended up in Warren Municipal Court, when Ohlin was evicted last September. In December, a magistrate awarded Gianoutsos $15,000 - the maximum in back rent - while noting that $76,000 was actually owed by Ohlin from May 2005 to August 2011.
''He just left in the middle of the night and Mike (Gianoutsos) thought Ohlin had insurance on the place,'' said Shirley Capparell, a real estate broker and spokeswoman for Gianoutsos, she said she had the house on the market for at least a year and there were no takers after property values were already on the downswing in the neighborhood.
''Attorney Ohlin left clothes in the drawers upstairs and what looked like legal documents in his offices downstairs,'' said Capparell, who was taking note of proceeds from the auction and who also alerted the Ohio Supreme Court to the legal documents.
''They (Supreme Court) sent someone down to pick up the paperwork,'' she said.
Capparell also said that proceeds from the auction were going toward the more than $12,000 in back property taxes that are owed by Gianoutsos. ''Mike was just too nice of a guy to let this drag on,'' she said.
Capparell said the slate started sliding off the roof. Rain damaged the roof and flooring on the second floor. And she blames Ohlin with turning off utilities at one point and allowing pipes to burst.
Vandals have stolen copper piping out of the basement out of the home built in 1890 and now valued at $24,500 by the county auditor.
Warren Councilman at-large James Valesky said he sympathizes with the woman wanting the house preserved, but his main interest was to see that Gianoutsos - and not the city - would be responsible for any demolishing costs.
He said that on May 1 when he saw the ad for the auction, he and Robert Pinti, Warren's deputy health commissioner, noticed there was no demolition permit pulled at the site.
''I talked with Bob to make sure the owner wasn't intending to throw the cost on the city. We want to take every precaution that the city isn't burdened with costs from people walking away from property,'' Valesky said.
Pinti confirmed that Gianoutsos posted a $5,000 bond this week that will cover the cost of demolition.
The councilman said at least some of the articles from the home will be put to use elsewhere. ''It's good to call attention to these homes. But we need to catch these homes before they're destroyed. Maybe we can avoid this next time,'' he said.
Ohlin faces sanctions from the Ohio Supreme Court following a series of grievances from clients.