A Broad Street building seized in the Mario Armas drug trafficking case has been set for auction next Friday, and two Broad Street businesses are waiting to see what comes next.

The property, seized by the U.S. Marshals’ office, has two current tenants, Harbin Clinic Behavioral Sciences and the Victorian Tea Room and Café.

Harbin Clinic marketing director Brenda Bowen said they’re also waiting to see who the buyer is and if they can work with them to keep the current location.  The owner of the Victorian Tea Room said that he had options, but declined to tell the Rome News Tribune what those options were.

In August 2008 the federal government motioned to have several properties foreclosed that were at least partially owned by Armas, including the property located at 510 and 512 Broad St.

On Oct. 9, 2007 local businessman Mario Armas pleaded guilty to marijuana trafficking charges and forfeited various firearms as well as a monetary judgment of $1,144,000 — the estimated amount of the money invested into a marijuana trafficking scheme.

He was imprisoned and sentenced to 15 years, his sentence was reduced to 12 years in January 2009 for “substantial assistance” to the government, according to court documents.

According to the Williams Auction Web site, the nominal opening bid is $50,000 and is scheduled to be auctioned at 2:54 p.m. on Dec. 18 at the Turner McCall Days Inn.

The inspection of the property is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 13 as well as two hours before the sale. Only the restaurant will be open for public inspections.


Rome News Tribune