Michigan man, 83, who & # 39; wrongly & # 39; has underpaid property tax by $ 8.41, seized his home by the local government, sold it and retained $ 24,500 profit
- Uri Rafaeli, 83, has filed a lawsuit against the government of Oakland County, Michigan
- Says he accidentally paid $ 8.41 in property taxes on a rental property in 2011
- County grabbed the house and sold as for a profit of $ 24,500, the lawsuit says
- The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Thursday
A retiree from Michigan who says he accidentally underpaid his property tax by $ 8.41 has revealed that the provincial government has taken possession of a house and sold it for a profit of $ 24,500.
Uri Rafaeli, 83, says that he owed $ 8.41 tax on a rental property in Southfield after calculating interest incorrectly on his 2011 taxes. The bill grew to $ 285 with fines and interest.
Oakland County grabbed the house in 2014 and sold it for $ 24,500, but kept the balance, although the sale significantly exceeded the amount of back taxes.
His case is one of two cases submitted to the Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday, where a lawyer argued before the plaintiffs that such seizures are legal under the US and Michigan Constitution clauses.
Uri Rafaeli, 83, says that he owed $ 8.41 in taxes on a rental property in Southfield after calculating interest incorrectly on his 2011 taxes
& # 39; This is unjust and unconstitutional. … The government can take and sell the property, but it can only keep what it is rightfully entitled to, "said Christina Martin, a lawyer for former property owners in Oakland County.
She called it & # 39; steal & # 39 ;.
The other claimant, Andre Ohanessian, owed approximately $ 6,000. Oakland County sold its 2.7 acres for $ 82,000 and kept the windfall. There are similar stories in other counties in Michigan.
There can be no doubt that state legislation allows state treasurers to transfer money after property tax arrears have finally been paid from a sale. The question before the court is whether the practice is illegal under the deprivation clause in the US and Michigan constitutions.
John Bursch, who debated on behalf of Oakland County, told the Supreme Court that property owners have more than two years to prevent unpaid tax foreclosure. But after foreclosure, he added that property rights lapse along with other claims.
& # 39; This is not an unjust enrichment & # 39; by local governments, Bursch said. & # 39; If you have a notice period and do not do something, you will lose your rights. & # 39;
Oakland County grabbed Rafaeli's house (above) in 2014 and sold it for $ 24,500, but kept the balance, although the sale considerably exceeded the amount of back taxes
He urged the judges to trust the legislator to change the law if the public finds it unfair.
Bursch said that more than $ 2 billion is at stake if the court declares the law unconstitutional.
& # 39; A judgment for the plaintiffs will destroy the local authorities, & # 39; said Bursch. & # 39; Class actions are currently pending at all 83 county circuit courts and at our federal courts. … That comes directly from schools, road police, fire brigade and other basic services. & # 39;
In court proceedings, a coalition of provinces, townships and other local governments acknowledged that the facts of the Rafaeli case could fuel the indignation of any decent citizen.
But the group said it was not a case where the government took the first opportunity to snatch property from unsuspecting taxpayers.
Oakland County said it had repeatedly sent reminders demanding payment to homeowners before initiating foreclosure.
The county argued in legal proceedings that the return of the proceeds from the sale of tax offender property allows delinquent taxpayers to remain on their rights, engage the county as a real estate agent and then decide whether the image should be resubmitted are entered depending on the success of the sale. & # 39;
The province argued that such a policy would allow tax cheats to privatize all profits while socializing all losses & # 39; and would inevitably result in unbridled unpaid property taxes.
A spokesman for Oakland County treasurer Andy Meisner declined to comment when he was reached by DailyMail.com on Friday.
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