Michigan County seized retiree’s home for $8 in unpaid taxes

A Michigan county treasurer is under fire, six years after the county foreclosed on a retiree’s home because the man failed to pay $8.41 in property taxes – an action the court the state’s supreme court recently ruled unconstitutional, according to The Detroit News.

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners demanded that Andrew Meisner, the Oakland County Treasurer, answer their questions in an angry letter following the court ruling earlier this month, FOX News reported. .

“It appears that your actions as treasurer to seize the property of an Oakland County retiree for $8.41 have placed the county at serious risk,” said the letter signed by council chairman David Woodward. and commissioners Mike Gingell and Helen Zack, according to the Detroit News.

Meisner denied any wrongdoing and told the Detroit News he was “not surprised” by the letter dated July 21.

“He was signed by people who support my opponent (in the August primary),” Meisner said, according to the Detroit News. “It’s silly season and any investigation is nothing more than a political witch hunt.”

Uri Rafaeli, a retired Southfield resident, owed $8.41 in unpaid property taxes from 2011 on his 1,500 square foot home. Unpaid taxes had risen to $285.81 to include interest, penalties and costs, court papers by Rafaeli, LLC against Oakland County. Meisner seized the property in 2014, and the county sold it at public auction for $24,500 later that year.

The county kept all the money “beyond taxes, interest, penalties and fees,” according to the court ruling.

The court ruled that because the county retained the surplus from a decidedly unconstitutional take, where fair compensation was denied to the owner, the treasurer’s actions — and therefore the county’s actions — were illegal, according to court documents.

County commissioners decided to form a special committee on foreclosure practices and policies “to minimize the impact of last week’s Michigan Supreme Court decision on tax foreclosure auctions on ratepayers”, said said an Oakland County news release.

“The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that the Treasurer’s actions were unconstitutional and it is paramount that we protect taxpayers as much as possible from what could be material consequences of this decision,” the Oakland County Executive said. , David Coulter, in the statement. “I support the Board of Commissioners forming this special committee to conduct a review of all tax foreclosure policies and procedures of the Office of the Treasurer, including oversight of the Revolving Fund for Delinquent Taxes. County.”

Brooke is originally from the Pacific Northwest and most recently worked for KREM 2 News in Spokane, Washington as a digital and television producer. She also worked as a general reporter for Coeur d’Alene Press in Idaho. She is an alumnus of Washington State University, where she earned a degree in journalism and media production from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

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