County tax sale in limbo for buyer
A Lake Caroline resident is asking the county to make her whole on a $2,000 tax sale investment she made back in 2021, and said the county continues to hold her money.
Doris Watson bought a parcel of land owned by Nancy Sanchez at the tax sale in August 2021. She said she entered into a contract with the county, through its auction agent GovEase, to where she would receive 1.5 percent interest per month on the property until it was either paid or she retained control of the land.
Sanchez, in September 2021, made the final payment on her property, claiming she didn’t receive notice that more taxes were due after there was a reassessment on the property.
Fast-forward to March 2022, and Sanchez appeared before the Board of Supervisors asking for the tax sale to be void. On April 18, 2022, the county ended up voting unanimously to void the tax sale, citing a clerical error.
Board Attorney Mike Espy told supervisors on Monday that what he believes happened was that Sanchez made a payment on the taxes in February 2021. Sanchez then claims she was unaware of a second payment due until after the tax sale, arguing she never received notice from the Tax Collector’s Office. So, she paid two weeks after the tax sale and then came before the board to have the sale voided.
Tax Collector Kay Pace told supervisors on Monday there was no reason that the board should have voided the tax sale back in 2022.
“The thing that bothers me the most about the tax sale…tax sale is one of the things that brings money into the county,” she said. “I want you to be careful about approving (void) tax sales that are presented because…anybody can walk in here and request a void tax sale.”
Board President Gerald Steen asked Pace if she had receipts of the notices sent to Sanchez.
“I don’t have proof of that,” she said, adding that the cards were printed and notices sent out.
Watson told supervisors she didn’t agree with the facts as presented and asked to be made whole.
“I don’t know anything about Mrs. Sanchez and her coming and what happened and what day it happened,” Watson said. “My issue here is we are 26 months later, after I in good faith entered a tax sale with Madison County…that promised me 1.5 percent interest from the sale August of ’21 until I was paid. That’s 26 months later.”
She said if the county was going to pay her 1.5 percent interest for the two weeks after Sanchez made the second payment that would not be fair because the county has continued to hold her money for over two years.
“Fifteen days’ worth of interest is not acceptable,” she said.
Watson added that if it hadn’t been for her calling and emailing for two months, “I don’t think I would ever have seen one dime of my money.”
District 4 Supervisor Karl Banks agreed with Watson and that she’s due money.
Board President Gerald Steen agreed as well, but that they have to go by what the law says.
“I’m gonna go with what the law says as well,” Steen said. “I’d be upset if somebody was holding my money like that without interest.”
Board Attorney Mike Espy said he would confer with all of the offices and find out what is “legally appropriate” to pay Watson.
“Let’s get her a check in the mail as soon as possible,” District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin said.