DETROIT (WWJ) – The deal is off.

The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office is canceling a $6 million online bid for the old Packard plant in Detroit.

That bid belonged to Jill Van Horn of Texas, who Wayne County officials say hasn’t paid up.

“We needed to hear from them by noon that by close of business today we would have a down payment of $2 million towards the $6 million made,” said treasurer’s office Dave Szymanski.

“We did not hear back, and so pursuant to the directions of Treasurer Wojtowicz, we did cancel their sale,” Szymanski said.

Szymanski said it’s rare, though not unheard of, for a bid to fall through after the fact.

While the bid was initially considered legit, concern began brewing when Van Horn’s group of investors issued what some have called a rambling letter on Monday. 

“… If the county doubts that we have the ability to perform, we challenge the county by stating at this time, Dr. Van Horn and her lenders, investors are prepared to travel from Texas to Detroit and sit down with the county and make and offer for every vacant, abandoned and dilapidated apartment building within Detroit,” the letter read. [Read the 3-page letter].


The dilapidated 40-acre plant, located along East Grand Boulevard, has not been used for car production since the 1950s.

As the years passed, the property increasingly became the target of arsonists, thieves, metal scrappers, urban explorers and graffiti artists.

The next highest bid was a little over $2 million. Bidding began at $21,000.

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