Wednesday, August 15, 2012

'County Refused To Give Me Same Break It Gave Others!' Says Tax-Foreclosed Homeowner In Effort To Reclaim Home With 'Equal Protection' Lawsuit

In Livingston County, New York, The Livingston County News reports:

  • A Livonia man is filing suit against Livingston County to reclaim ownership of his property from foreclosure.

    The lawsuit highlights a concession made for a home in Mount Morris — and claims that the same concession should have been be made for anyone whose property was seized for foreclosure auctions in 2011 and 2012.

    Robert E. Chabot’s home at 5147 Blank Road was among over 40 parcels destined for sale in the county’s 2011 foreclosure auction.
  • Chabot’s suit challenges the county’s right to have disallowed his post-June 15 payment of back taxes and penalties. The case centers on the fact that [one] property [...] in Mount Morris and [another] property [...] in Lima have remained in possession of the original owners, even though those two owners likewise failed to pay their taxes before the deadline.

    These exceptions to what the county claims is a blanket policy violates constitutional protections, said [Chabot's attorney Derrick A.] Spatorico. “Our argument is that the county has two sets of rules. One set of rules is for most everybody, but there is another set of rules for those who protest.”

    Such differential treatment is a violation of both the New York and United States constitutions which insist upon equal protection of all citizens. “It’s a fairness argument. We’re arguing that the law needs to be clearly defined and equally applied — and it’s not,” Spatorico said.
  • As a solution to the unfairness, Spatorico would hope to see something along the lines of an amnesty program — tied to a specific time frame where Livingston County would accept back tax payment beyond the redemption deadline.

    Until the county rectifies this situation and starts to apply the law equally to everyone, then I think that they have an established practice of allowing exceptions to the rule,” Spatorico said.

    Liability implications

    If Chabot wins his case, will a similar challenge be opened to every property owner who has experienced loss of his or her property to foreclosure in Livingston County since 2011?

    The county opened the door for this when they failed to apply the law equally to everyone in the county,” Spatorico commented. “They cannot selectively and arbitrarily apply the law.”

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