Friday, August 3, 2007

Spend money to make money, no matter what

In Slidell LA this July, Kermit and Dolores Atwood had hoped that the "seven years of hell" they had gone through would be over. In 2000, they learned that their four bedroom home had been sold in a tax sale three years earlier. It seems that an errant tax bill for $1.63 had never reached them and their home was sold for the $1.63 plus ten cents in interest and $125 in court costs. The bill was sent to a defunct address and was returned undelivered to the St Tammany Parish sheriff's office.

I can understand someone letting a bill go but the Atwoods have owned their home mortgage-free since 1968 and it was totally state homestead exempt. There should have been no tax bill in the first place, no matter how small and I can understand how they didn't go looking for the errant bill.

"The sheriff's office could have easily found us. We are in the phone book," Dolores said.

The state nullified the sale in but when they went to sell their home in 2002, they found out they did not have a clear title, a buyer had filed suit. Jamie Land Co claims that they had bought the property rights from American Land Investments. In 2006, State District Judge Patricia Hedges ruled that the property title belongs to the Atwoods. Last month, a three-judge panel of the state 1st Circuit Court of appeal upheld Hedge's decision. Jamie Land asked the court to rehear the case and that was denied last as well. The company now intends to ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to take it's case.

James A Lindsay II, the company's president said that he didn't want to pursue a long court case but his rights were violated and that he has spent more than $20,000 on the case already. Now that is the part I don't understand, he claims he doesn't want a long court case but he also plans to try to take it to the next court in line. The Atwood home was originally sold for less that $200, a home that they had a buyer offer $90,000 for in 2002. I doubt that Lindsay's company paid a very high price to aquire the rights to that home and I don't see how the Atwoods can be at fault for his lost investment....... they didn't pay a bill, that should never have been billed to them and from their statement, no one made even the nominal effort to contact them about.

It seems that Lindsay believes in the same profit system as Judge Roy L Pearson, the $54 million pants man. If the courts keep ruling against you, just keep appealing, no matter what your cost in dollars or years, maybe, just maybe you will get lucky and hit the "payout jackpot."

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