Two tax-delinquent properties sold at Otsego County’s annual real estate auction last summer are now expected to be returned to their prior owners after county officials determined that notices of the tax foreclosure were never received by the owners.
At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the county Board of Representatives is slated to act on resolutions that would authorize the acceptance of the back taxes for the two properties in question. The money paid by the buyers at the auction would be returned to them, according to proposed resolution’s on the board’s meeting agenda.
One of the parcels in question, owned by Kevin Hoey in Milford, had an incorrect address listed on the deed, and county officials were not initially aware that the correct address was in a county file for another property owned by Hoey, according to the resolution.
Hoey has agreed to pay the $5,907 in taxes in order to regain the title, officials said.
A second parcel in the town of Maryland, also sold in the August auction, would go back to its former owner, James Cuevas of Richmond Hill, because the deed to the parcel had been filed in Delaware County but not in Otsego County, though the land straddles the two counties, officials said.
A third resolution would put the board’s stamp of approval on the Aug. 20 auction sale of a tax-delinquent property consisting of a house and nearly three acres of land at 1640 State Highway 7 in Unadilla.
The owner of that property, Julianna Elliott, had said she was willing to pay all of the taxes due before the auction but county officials refused to accept the payment, determining the home owner had missed the deadline for paying taxes and ignored repeated notices that the county wanted her to pay the property taxes.
A lawsuit filed by Elliott to nullify the county’s sale of the property was unsuccessful, officials said, setting the stage for the finalizing of the property’s sale to Jodey Oliver of 2208 State Highway 7 for $37,000. Elliott said last year the property has a market value of about $100,000.
Due to pending litigation, the county is unable to sign off on two other properties sold in the August auction — a house with 99 acres of land in Butternuts, that had been owned by Robert Force, a disabled Vietnam-era veteran, and his wife, Donna, and a house at 104 Filburn Road in Richfield, that had been owned by Maria Ajello, an employee of the Otsego County Department of Social Services.
The Forces’ have appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit, while no ruling had been rendered yet regarding the Ajello property. County officials have said both the Forces and Ajello had been sent notices that their property was facing tax foreclosure. They have also said they were unaware that Ajello had been working in the same county office building as the treasurer’s office during the period that the delinquency notices were going out to property owners.
Ajello, without success, has urged the Board of Representatives several times to allow her to pay the back taxes and penalties in full and nullify the sale of the home she had shared with her late husband Kenneth, who died in 2008.