The Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism just published an article that documents the severe problems afflicting Ohio’s Board of Revision (BOR) foreclosure process. According to the story, published in the Center’s “Eye On Ohio” investigative reporting series, the BOR foreclosures have cost local governments, homeowners, and banks at least $91 million over the past 13 years. The process, created by the Ohio General Assembly in 2006, enables BORs to cease properties without going to court. In most cases, the properties are then deeded over to county land banks.
DannLaw founder and former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann who has filed suit on behalf of a number of property owners victimized by the process, says the law, not the members of the BORs utilizing it are at fault. “BOR members are working hard to improve their communities, but the law they’re using is unconstitutional,” he said. “People across the state, banks, and local governments are losing millions. This simply can’t be allowed to continue.”
One of Dann’s clients, Elliot Feltner, is profiled in the story. After dealing with a number of personal tragedies, including the death of this father-in-law and wife, Mr. Feltner learned that a number of tax liens had been filed against the auto body shop he inherited after they passed away. He didn’t have the money to pay the back taxes so he put the building on the market and was going to use the proceeds from the sale to pay off the liens. There was only one problem: he didn’t own the building. To his complete surprise, the BOR had foreclosed on the property, which was valued at more than $140,000, and given it to a private company. If Mr. Feltner had been able to sell the building local governmental entities, including the county and the local school district, would have received nearly $70,000 in taxes and interest. Instead, they and Mr. Feltner got nothing.
DannLaw sued Cuyahoga County’s Board of Revision on Mr. Feltner’s behalf. The Ohio Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling soon.
Unfortunately, what happened to Mr. Feltner is far from an isolated incident. Research by DannLaw and the reporters who wrote the “Eye on Ohio” story revealed that thousands of Ohioans have been victimized by the BOR process. You can read the report here.
If you or someone you know has lost a residential or business property to a BOR foreclosure, we urge you to call DannLaw at 216-373-0539 to arrange a no-cost consultation today. We are eager to evaluate your situation and, if appropriate, take legal action to help you secure justice and just compensation for your loss.