Tax sale buyer sues Louisiana Tax Commission after sale canceled

Michelle Massey Oct. 5, 2010, 9:20am

An East Baton Rouge Parish resident is suing the Louisiana Tax Commission after the property he acquired through a tax sale was improperly canceled.

Patrick L. Wilson filed suit against State of Louisiana, through the Louisiana Tax Commission, St. John the Baptist Parish Assessor Whitney Joseph Jr. and Esparros Properties Airline on Oct. 1 in federal court in New Orleans.

Wilson acquired property from The Country Club Restaurant & Lounge at a tax sale involving unpaid 2006 ad valorem taxes conducted by the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff on May 30, 2007. The tax sale applied only to the improvements located on real property owned by Esparros Properties Airline.

According to the complaint, the Louisiana Constitution offers a tax sale purchaser the ownership of real property subject to the right of redemption, which expires three years from the date of recording the tax sale.

After the expiration of the right of redemption, Wilson states he contacted Esparros Properties Airline to inform of his ownership interest of the improvements located on the property.

Shortly thereafter, defendant Esparros Properties Airline contacted defendant Joseph and requested a cancellation of the tax sale.

Wilson states that Joseph submitted a request for cancellation and it was approved without providing him an opportunity to be heard.

He claims those actions violated the Louisiana Constitution and his due process rights because he was not given an opportunity to object prior to termination of his property rights.

"The acts of said defendants were intended to deprive petitioner of his property without due process or equal protection of the laws insofar as no hearing notice or an opportunity to be heard was afforded to petitioner," the lawsuit states.

Wilson is asking for a judgment against the defendants for the value of the improvements, lost rents together with interest, attorney's fees and court costs.

He is represented by John A. Davidson and Christopher J. Davidson of Davidson & Davidson in Metairie.

U.S. District Judge A.J. McNamara is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv03338

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State of Louisiana
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