After a conference call between city and county officials including County Executive Matt Ossenfort and Mayor Ann Thane last week, the city’s foreclosure process is moving forward again after a difference of opinion emerged between the two legal departments in regards to a handful of properties and their certificates of redemption.
The issue had to do with the about 10-20 properties whose owners had paid the property’s back taxes and fees in full as well as the current year’s taxes up to the last quarter due, but not for the full year. This situation created a discrepancy between the total amount of delinquent taxes, which included the full current year, and the amount actually paid. The county’s position was that it would not recognize the properties as “redeemed” because of the mismatch.
Yesterday, Controller Matt Agresta said the city will file certificates of withdrawal for the properties in question instead of certificates of redemption. Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis said today that both documents accomplish the same goal of removing the property from the foreclosure process, but do so under different legal criteria.
At a Common Council meeting on June 16, DeCusatis criticized County Attorney Meghan Manion for not returning his phone calls on the matter, prompting an animated response from Alderman Ron Barone who urged the mayor to call the county attorney directly and to tell her to “get on the stick.”
Last Thursday, Ossenfort defended the county’s stance on the issue and the job performance of Manion. He said the legal department preferred to communicate with the city in writing so that responses were clearly documented and that “letters were responded to promptly, the same day if not the next day.”