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Judge rejects petitioners’ requests to prevent tax collection

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Because petitioners seeking to enjoin the collection of tax filed their petitions before an original tax appeal was initiated, the Indiana Tax Court granted Marion County’s motions to dismiss.

Judge Martha Wentworth issued two orders Friday dealing with the same issue: the petitioners, before the Indiana Board of Tax Review had scheduled a hearing or ruled on the matters, filed their petitions asking the Tax Court to enjoin the collection of property taxes.

Washington Park Cemetery Association Inc. challenged the removal of an exemption previously applied to its Community Life Center, effective with the March 1, 2012, assessment. The entire complex had received an exemption from property taxes, including the life center. It was removed because special events, such as weddings, were sometimes held at the location.

West Ohio II LLC filed its petition asking the Tax Court to enjoin the collection of property taxes related to a disputed portion of its $39,314,000 assessment for March 1, 2013. West Ohio believed the property – a multi-tenant building and parking garage in Indianapolis – was substantially overvalued.

The same arguments were raised in both petitions, which involve the same attorneys on both cases: that the language “will raise” in I.C. 33-26-6-2(b)(1) allows for injunctive relief before an original tax appeal has been initiated; that the nature of preliminary injunctive relief typically seeks an order from the court before the full presentation of evidence and not after; and that the Tax Court should follow its holding in American Trucking Associations Inc. v. Indiana, 512 N.E.2d 920 (Ind. Tax. Ct. 1987).

But no relief can be granted because neither petitioner has filed an original tax appeal, Wentworth held. As such, the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to rule on the petitions. In both cases, she granted the motion to dismiss filed by the Marion County assessor, treasurer and auditor.

She noted in a footnote that the principle established in American Trucking regarding the Tax Court’s subject matter jurisdiction was ultimately challenged and disposed of in another case by an original action with the Indiana Supreme Court in 1990.

“Because the Supreme Court issued an alternative writ of prohibition in that case barring the Tax Court from exercising subject matter jurisdiction without stating its rationale or publishing the writ, the parties debated its precedential value in this case. Nonetheless, the Court need not determine the effect of the  Supreme Court’s writ because it now comes to the opposite opinion regarding subject matter jurisdiction than that in American Trucking,” she wrote.

The cases are Washington Park Cemetery Association, Inc. v. Marion County Assessor, Marion County Treasurer, and Marion County Auditor, 49T10-1404-TA-10, and West Ohio II, LLC v. Marion County Assessor, Marion County Treasurer, and Marion County Auditor, 49T10-1404-TA-9.

 

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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

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