Saturday, November 12, 2016

Despite Claims That Legal Notice Was Never Received, Homeowner Evictions In Detroit-Area Tax Foreclosures Move Forward

In Wayne County, Michigan, The Detroit News reports:
  • Families who sued Wayne County and several suburban cities last year over what they called illegal tax foreclosures are now being evicted after losing several court cases.

    Among them is a Lincoln Park woman who says she lost nearly all her belongings [], when she was evicted her from her home while she was at work. Her attorney, Tarek Baydoun, said she should have been notified that a court hearing was held to issue an eviction order and that once it was posted, she should have had 24 hours’ notice to leave.

    “The feeling is like you are totally broken,” said Brandy Gutierrez, 32, who added she found her locks changed and a mound of her possessions on the curb.

    She is among the 18 families who sued the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office in December in U.S. District Court to stop their evictions. They allege they didn’t receive foreclosure notices and in some cases were told by county officials they had more time to save their properties. The county sold the homes to suburban communities, including Lincoln Park and Garden City, which resold them to developers to fix.

    Treasurer Eric Sabree maintained his office followed the law and that many homeowners were foreclosed when they missed payments.

    The evictions were on hold while courts considered the cases. U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy dismissed the case in September in part because she said she didn’t have jurisdiction. Separately, several Wayne County judges upheld the evictions.

    At least four of the 18 have been evicted, said Baydoun, who represents the families and is appealing Levy’s ruling.
    ***
    Allegations of botched foreclosure notices aren’t new to the county.

    State law requires officials to reach out to anyone with possible interest in the properties when it is headed to foreclosure — through First-Class and certified letters, newspaper notices and personal property visits, including posted notices if no one is home.

    The Detroit News obtained records of certified mailings through the Freedom of Information Act and sampled 1,000 of the 333,000 sent by one contractor in late 2014. More than half were still listed in the U.S. post office's tracking system as “in transit,” The News found.

    County officials acknowledged they haven’t always received proof from the post office that a person signed for the letter or that delivery was attempted, but said there was no evidence the post office didn’t try to deliver the letters.

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