Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Michigan Supreme Court Rules That Oakland County Treasurer Cannot Retain Surplus Proceeds From Tax-Foreclosure Sale

real estate lawyer Ann Arbor

On July 17, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an important decision in Rafaeli, LLC and Andre Ohanessian v. Oakland County and Andrew Meisner that will impact county budgets and tax-foreclosure protocols. In a detailed opinion by Justice Zahara joined by 5 other justices (Justice Viviano wrote a separate concurring opinion), the court unanimously ruled that Oakland County unlawfully retained the surplus proceeds from the tax-foreclosure sale of plaintiffs’ properties that exceeded the amount they owed in unpaid delinquent taxes, interest, penalties and fees. The court found that defendants’ retention of those surplus proceeds is an unconstitutional taking without just compensation under Article 10, Section 2 of the 1963 Michigan Constitution (referred to as the “Takings Clause”).

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