For the record, the Erie County Sheriff's Office didn't enter Pam Frisch's contest in 2008.
Frisch, the former owner of the shuttered Yesteryears restaurant in downtown Sandusky, rolled out an essay-writing contest in April that year, offering to give away her $425,000 home to the essayist who could best explain "why you would like to own this house."
Contestants had to pay a $100 fee and write an essay or poem at least 500 words in length, exploring exactly why they wanted to own Frisch's five-bedroom home on the well-to-do Deerpath Drive in Perkins Township.
She canceled the contest just two months after it started because she'd received fewer than 1,000 entries; her requirement was 5,000.
Had the county sheriff's department written an essay of its own, however, it wouldn't have been 500 words long. It wouldn't have been funny, or romantic, or uplifting, or anything fancy.
It would have been a 10-word essay, brief and brutal: "I would auction off that house to the highest bidder."
That's exactly what is happening. Frisch's home has been foreclosed and is now listed among nearly 60 homes the Erie County sheriff is auctioning off Aug. 4. Figures from 2008 valued the home at $425,000, but the home is now listed at $275,000. Bids start at $183,000, according to the Erie County Commissioners' Web site.
It's a bitter end to a scenario that had delivered its share of bumps and bruises to Frisch, who opened Yesteryears restaurant on West Market Street in September 2007, only to close it almost a year later to the day. Frisch had renovated the building where Yesteryears was operating, but was later unable to secure loans and grants that would have helped pay for the renovations, according to city records.
Before the restaurant closed, she had publicized her essay-writing contest as a creative way to sell her 4,800-square-foot home. With $100 from each essay submitted, she would have generated $500,000 from the contest. But when she failed to receive enough entries, she called the contest off and returned the money to those who participated.