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COA rules company not entitled to surplus funds under agreement

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An Owen Circuit judge erred by granting a Colorado company’s petition to claim surplus funds from the tax sale of property belonging to Ora and Leafie Chambers, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The couple signed an agreement that transferred their right of the surplus funds from the sale of their property to Asset Recovery Inc.

In Auditor of Owen County and Treasurer of Owen County v. Asset Recovery, Inc., 60A01-1212-MI-592, the Owen County auditor and treasurer appealed the trial court’s grant of the company’s petition for release of the surplus funds. The purchaser of the Chamberses’ property paid more than the amount required to fulfill the outstanding tax obligations, resulting in surplus of nearly $7,500. The county officials claimed that Indiana Code 6-1.1-24-7.5 invalidates the bill of sale and assignment issued to Asset Recovery.

Under the agreement, the couple would receive nearly $4,500 and Asset Recovery would receive the remainder of the surplus.

The COA found the agreement to be invalid under the statute because it has the primary purpose of paying compensation to recover money deposited in a tax sale surplus fund with respect to property that has been the subject of a tax sale and requires payment of compensation of more than 10 percent of the amount to be collected from the tax sale surplus fund. Asset Recovery would receive 40 percent of the total amount collected from the surplus fund, but is limited to just 10 percent under the law.

“Moreover, as a matter of public policy, the statute is designed to protect the citizens of our state and to regulate the activities of property locator services whose primary purpose is to locate money deposited in tax sale surplus funds by capping the fees at 10 percent of the total amount collected from the surplus fund,” Senior Judge Betty Barteau wrote. “Certainly, elderly property owners are a particular group of the population to be protected by this statute as their vulnerability is often preyed upon. Therefore, it would be error for us to ignore the spirit and objectives of Indiana Code section 6-1.1-24-7.5 by allowing Asset Recovery to be compensated for the recovery of the funds pursuant to the terms of its agreement with the Chamberses.”
 

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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