Several properties tied to the estate of a well-known heart surgeon and developer in Carmel could be auctioned soon.
John N. Pittman, who helped establish the cardiovascular program at Indiana University Health’s Methodist Hospital, died Dec. 25, 2014, at age 81.
His offspring have been fighting in court since September about how to handle the estimated $2.4 million estate that has ownership interest and voting rights in five companies and control of several key properties.
Anne Kelton, Pittman's daughter, has filed lawsuits in Hamilton and Boone counties to force three properties—one in Zionsville and two in Carmel—to be sold at auction.
Three of Pittman’s four sons—Steve, Mark and Chad Pittman—were designated to handle the estate, but Chad Pittman resigned his role as representative, and certified public accountant Michael Rasor took his place.
All five children—Steve, Mark and Chad, plus another son, John Pittman, and Kelton—inherited equal shares of the estate. But neither Kelton nor John Pittman was assigned to be a representative.
Kelton has been challenging the compensation that the representatives are receiving for executing the estate and controlling its real estate developments and investments. She filed the requests to auction the properties tied to the estate in March and April.
In Indiana, one person with interest in an estate can force related property to be auctioned, even if a majority of the estate holders disagree.
The Carmel land that could be auctioned includes two adjacent properties at 201 W. 106th St. and 340-341 Sanner Court. On the land is a five-bedroom home built in 1959, party barn, tennis court, racquetball court, indoor basketball court, swimming pool and parking lot.
The Sanner Court property is considered the family’s “entertainment complex." It has an assessed value of $515,300 and is listed separately in court documents from the family residence on 106th Street, assessed at $628,600, according to the court filing.
The seven-acre Zionsville property, at 11675 E. Sycamore St., includes a log cabin, private pond, storage barn and “extensive outdoor entertainment facilities,” according to Mark Pittman. It has an assessed value of $495,300, according to court documents.
The Zionsville land is adjacent to The Farm project proposed by Steve Pittman’s development company. The Farm is expected to be a $90 million mixed-use development on 62 acres near the southwest corner of U.S. 421 and Sycamore Street.
No dates for the auctions have been set, as the Hamilton and Boone County judges have allowed the other family members additional time to respond to Kelton’s petition.
She already has the support of at least one other family member.
“Our family has greatly enjoyed these properties where we have hosted hundreds of charitable events, political fundraisers and family reunions. Unfortunately, the real estate has been the subject of a family dispute that remains unresolved,” Mark Pittman said in a written statement. “As a result, my sister was forced to file the lawsuits and the properties will be liquidated. I support her in this action and hope the matters can be resolved quickly.”
In a statement to IBJ on Tuesday, Steve Pittman said that he, Scott and Chad had hoped to instead list the properties for sale with a real estate agent in hopes of getting the best return.