Let me state this very clearly and for the record: Government does not have a right to the fruits of our labor. They do not have a right to our property, and they do not have a right to our families. Yet, time and time again, they impose immoral and unconstitutional taxes on our property so that, in essence, we never, ever, never own our property. So what is to be done about tyrannical governments that steal your property for say $8.41 in unpaid taxes? Founding father Thomas Jeffersons wrote, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Jefferson had the idea in mind about such usurpations of authority as what I’m about to present to you.
In a recent piece at the Foundation of Economic Education, Brittany Hunter presented several cases in which local county governments that imposed immoral and unlawful property taxes stole the homes of people who put a lot of time, energy and money into their properties.
Furthermore, in the cases provided, most owed very little, when they shouldn’t have owed anything.
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One case, in particular, which occurred in Michigan, the homeowner’s home was stolen by the county and sold off due to $8.41 in unpaid taxes! That’s right, $8.41!
Brittany began her piece with a family that lived in New Jersey, but the father would drive 11 hours every weekend to work on repairs on a home in Michigan that they purchased.
For three years, the pair scrimped and saved in order to fix up the four-unit property. On the weekends, Ramouldo would spend his days off making the 11-hour drive from New Jersey to Michigan to work on the house, making the much-needed repairs himself. In addition to the small complex, the family had purchased a small home next door. The plan was to renovate and rent out each unit and then use that money to help Ramouldo retire and move his family to the small home in Michigan, where the rest of their extended family resides.
Erica, who had seen her father work long hours and sacrifice to provide for her family over the years, was happy to help her father buy the property. She was eager to begin building her own financial legacy and saw the property as an excellent investment opportunity.
These plans were derailed, however, when their property was seized by Wayne County, Michigan, in 2017 and sold to a private buyer.
All because they unknowingly underpaid their tax bill—by $144.
Now, the Perez family unintentionally underpaid the tax.
However, the county decided to tack on an exorbitant amount of interest… $359.00, in fact.
They then thought this justified stealing the home and selling it off for over $108,000, keeping the total sum of the money. I sure do smell a lawsuit in here somewhere against Wayne County by keeping far more than they claim they were owed, and I contest, their claim is illegitimate via natural law.
Oh, and that lawsuit I smelled, is in place.
According to FEE, “Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) has stepped in and on July 9th, announced that it had filed suit on behalf of the Perez family against Wayne County and County Treasurer Eric Sabree.”
Good for them! Every last person on the County Commission and the Treasurer should be removed from office and charged with grand theft in the matter.
However, this is not the only place in America where this occurs, and it has happened to people for far less money.
FEE points out that there are 12 different state governments reading to seize and sell your property if you underpay taxes by just a few dollars… and they claim they don’t have to pay you one dime for what they sell it.
It’s known as home equity theft.
Then there is the story of Uri Refaeli, the man who had his home stolen over a measly $8.41 by Oakland County, Michigan in 2014.
He’s also being represented by Pacific Legal Foundation. On PLF’s site, they recall the story.
In 2014, Oakland County, Michigan foreclosed on a home owned by Uri Rafaeli’s business—Rafaeli, LLC—over an $8.41 tax debt. The County sold the property for $24,500, and kept profits. Ditto for Andre Ohanessian, when the County seized and sold his property for $82,000, and pocketed every penny left over from the $6,000 tax debt. While most states refund the surplus, Michigan is among a handful of states that allow property theft to fill government coffers. PLF has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to strike down this bureaucratic theft and restore our clients’ constitutional rights.
In 2011, Uri Rafaeli’s business—Rafaeli, LLC—purchased a modest rental property in Southfield, Michigan for $60,000. Rafaeli inadvertently underpaid the property’s 2011 taxes. He paid his 2012, 2013 taxes in full. After learning he owed money for 2011, Rafaeli tried to pay the full 2011 tax debt in January, 2013. But he mistakenly did not factor in interest growing on the debt, and underpaid by $8.41. The County foreclosed on the property, sold it for $24,500, and pocket the massive windfall at Rafaeli’s expense.
Then there is Andre Ohanessian, a man that owed $6,000 in taxes, penalties, interest, and fees. The County foreclosed on him and sold his property for $82,000, and kept all the profits, never giving him a dime.
He is also being represented by PLF in the state of Michigan at the Michigan Supreme Court.
Property rights are one of the God-given rights that government is to protect and our founding fathers said so in the Declaration of Independence (that’s that little bit about the pursuit of happiness), not abusing their authority with immoral and unlawful property taxes and certainly not steal from those they were elected to serve.
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