Port of New Orleans files TRO over tax sale of property

The Louisiana Record Nov. 8, 2012, 5:49am

John J. Weiler

NEW ORLEANS – The Port of New Orleans has filed a temporary restraining order against the City of New orleans for trying to sell buildings in its possession to settle alleged back taxes on those properties.

The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans filed suit against Erroll G. Williams, Assesor, Parish of New Orleans; Norman Foster, Director of Finance for the City of New Orleans; Department of Finance, Bureau of Treasury; City of New Orleans and the Louisiana Tax Commission in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Sept. 21.

The Port is seeking to prevent its buildings that are being leased to private companies from being seized and sold at tax sale to recoup taxes the city claims it owes. The defendant claims that since it is a public entity it is impossible under law for it to owe tax on any building and that instead it should be the responsibility of the occupant of the building, if it is a for-profit entity, to pay the property taxes assessed.

The Port asserts that taxes owed on property it owns is leased to Kearney Companies, Inc., Southern Intermodal Xpress and Cat 5 Composites and should be assessed to those private companies and that any tax sale regarding back taxes on those properties should be canceled.

The defendant is accused of assessing taxes to the wrong entity.

The plaintiff seeks a temporary restraining order to avert the sale of its property via City tax sales.

The Port of New Orleans is represented by John J. Weiler on New Orleans-based Weiler & Rees.

The case has been assigned to Division I Judge Piper D. Griffin.

Case no. 2012-09003.

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