DiPietro v. Town of Bolton, Massachusetts

Struggling alpaca farmer fights government-sanctioned home equity theft

Alan DiPietro has been raising alpacas and selling their fleece since 2008 in Bolton, Massachusetts, a small, pleasant town in the state's Nashoba Valley Region.  By 2014, Alan's alpacas needed more land, so he bought 34 acres that spanned Bolton and the adjacent Town of Stow. The property was undeveloped, so the 50-year-old former engineer ...

Fair v. Continental Resources

Nebraska widower fights government-sanctioned home equity theft

The outside world came to a screeching halt for Kevin Fair in 2013. His wife, Terry, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and Kevin had to quit his job so he could care for her at their Scottsbluff, Nebraska, home where they'd lived for nearly two decades—the home was a wedding gift from Kevin's mother. ...

Foss v. City of New Bedford, et al.

State’s tax takings law enriches private company with senior citizen’s home and life savings

Life has not been easy for Deborah Foss in recent years. The 66-year-old grandmother lives in Massachusetts on a small, fixed income from Social Security. She suffers from several medical conditions, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, COPD, and neuropathy. Despite these struggles, Deborah cared for her ailing mother for the last 10 years of he ...

Hall v. Meisner

Michigan families fight to close state’s home equity theft loophole

When Tawanda and Prentiss Hall fell behind on their property taxes, they did what many financially strapped homeowners do: set up a payment plan with the local government. They didn't want to lose the Southfield, Michigan home where they lived with their children. The Oakland County treasurer ended the plan, however, with the tax debt standing a ...

Johnson v. City of East Orange

New Jersey family fights government-sanctioned property theft

In 2014, Lynette Johnson bought commercial property in East Orange, New Jersey, for her son and daughter to run their businesses. Unfortunately, Lynette never received notice of her tax assessments, the eventual tax lien, and foreclosure. By the time her tax lien was foreclosed in 2018, she owed close to $20,000. The city sold the property to a pri ...

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Tyler v. Hennepin County

94-year-old grandmother fights home equity theft in Minnesota

Home equity is private property, however, and is just as protected as a home or land. Government can't avoid its obligation to pay just compensation for a property's equity by simply saying the home equity doesn't exist. Now, at 94 years old and in a senior-living facility, Geraldine is fighting back in the U.S. Supreme Court. ...

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Mucciaccio v. Town of Easton and Tallage Lincoln, LLC

A family’s loss is a private company’s windfall in state’s home equity theft scheme

Mark and Neil Mucciaccio treasure their deep family roots in Easton, Massachusetts. In fact, the brothers still live in their childhood home with Mark's wife, stepdaughter, and two grandchildren. A streak of financial hardship and family medical troubles that began in 2013 left them struggling to keep up with their property tax bills. In 2016, the ...

Feltner v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision

Ohio county’s illegal tax foreclosure robs property owner and taxpayers

Elliot Feltner inherited his father-in-law's Cleveland, Ohio, autobody shop in 2012 and discovered the property, while valued at $144,500, had a property tax debt of more than $65,000. He decided to sell it to pay the debt and even found a buyer, but before he could complete a sale, the county took his property without paying him for his $80,000 in ...

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Barnette v. HBI, LLC

Taking tax-foreclosed property requires proper notice

In 2002, Walter Barnette was working in the Omaha suburb of Bellevue when he spotted an acre of land in a growing neighborhood. Though he lives across the nearby border with Iowa, he bought the property with the intent of one day building a home. Walter fell on hard times, however, and failed to pay his 2010 and 2011 property taxes—$986.50—to S ...