Widow owes $6 in unpaid taxes, judge auctions her home
Three years ago, a widow’s Beaver County, Pennsylvania, house was put up for auction after an oversight–the homeowner neglected to pay six dollars in unpaid interest.
Fortunately, Eileen Battisti was able to appeal to a judge’s sense of reason and have that decision reversed. After sanity prevailed, Battisti was able to have that decision reversed, pay off her outstanding interest and move on with her life.
Except, that’s not what happened at all.
After fighting to reverse the sale of her home, Beaver County Common Pleas Judge Gus Kwidis upheld the decision to auction her home out from under her.
“There is no doubt that (she) had actual receipt of the notification of the tax upset sale on July 7, 2011, and Aug. 16, 2011,” the judge wrote, according to Associated Press. “Moreover, on Aug. 12, 2011, a notice of sale was sent by first class mail and was not returned.”
At the time of the sale, the unpaid tax bill ballooned to a whopping $235, so clearly, Battisti was a deadbeat menace that had to be dealt with severely.
“The county never wants to see anybody lose their home, but at the same time the tax sale law, the tax real estate law, doesn’t give a whole lot of room for error, either,” said Beaver County’s chief solicitor. Right, the county never wants to see anyone lose their home, but not to seize it from her over 6 dollars and sell it out from under her at 116,000 dollars, less than half of its 280,000 dollar value.
According to Battisti, the oversight resulted from the fact that her husband handled all the paperwork and property tax issues before he passed away in 2004.
“It’s bad — she had some hard times, I guess her husband kind of took care of a lot of that stuff,” Askar told Associated Press. “It seemed that she was having a hard time coping with the loss of her husband — that just made it set in a little more.” Associated Press doesn’t report if the attorney mimicked playing the world’s tiniest violin while expressing his condolences, but it’s a distinct possibility.
Way to stick to to the widows, guys. They’ve been getting away with far too much for far too long.