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MI county sells injured mom’s home over one tax bill, and will keep extra $80,000 profit

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A Michigan mother says that she is devastated because Kalamazoo County is foreclosing on her home after brain bruises from a car accident caused her to miss a single tax payment two years ago.

Deborah Calley told WITI that she paid cash for her dream home in 2010. She had thought that it would make raising two children easier while she was recovering from the traumatic car accident.

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But that dream was shattered when she was notified that the county was foreclosing on her home over a missed property tax payment.

“When I paid the taxes in 2012 right there in Richland, no one said, ‘Oh, well you still owe money for 2011,’” Calley said. “So, I didn’t really have a clue. I thought I was right on time.”

Calley’s Realtor, Becky Doorlag, explained that it was not unusual for people who owned their home to forget to pay property taxes because they were usually included in the mortgage payment, which Calley did not have. Calley also speculated that her brain injury may have played a role in the missed payment.

Court documents obtained by WITI showed that notices went out about the missed payment, but Calley said that did not see a single one of them. WITI discovered that all but one of those notices were addressed to banks, instead of the homeowner.

“I’ve never been affiliated with any of those banks, ever,” Calley noted, pointing out that she paid $164,000 cash for her home and did not have a mortgage.

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And she said that she had proof that the letter that the county said was addressed to her also went to a bank.

“I know for a fact that it went back to this company called Title Check, because I have a receipt from the person at Title Check who signed it at their address in Kalamazoo,” she remarked.

Calley has offered to pay her back taxes, but the county has said that it is now too late. And to make matters worse, the county will also keep all profits from auctioning her home. The highest bid so far has been $80,000.

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“She’ll pay it today if they’ll let her… The government will take her home — the only thing that she has that she owns that’s paid off free and clear. That is her future and her retirement and her kids’ future. She will lose it to the government unless the judge has mercy.” Doorlag told WITI.

Watch the video below from WITI, broadcast Sept. 16, 2014.

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