NEW ORLEANS – Three New Orleans property owners are suing the city and its finance department over claims that the city charged them an unconstitutional property tax.

Patrice Benn-Abbey, Orlando Smiley and Freddie Ross filed suit against the City of New Orleans and the Director of Finance for the City of New Orleans in the Orleans Parish Central District Court on July 24.

The City of New Orleans authorized the assessment of a 10 percent delinquency penalty and a 9.5 percent penalty/attorney/collection charge on all late payments of ad valorem taxes made to the city. This was done despite claims that the charges imposed by the city contradicted the constitution of Louisiana.

The petitioners claim to have been charged penalties and charges by the City of New Orleans as a result of late payment and property taxes.

The defendant is accused of applying unconstitutional charges to the defendant.

Petitioners seek injunctive relief directing that the city of New Orleans cease and desist collection of all unconstitutional late payment and collection of penalties and fees.

The plaintiffs are represented by Matthew Remy Fransen of New Orleans-based Fransen and Hardin.

The case has been assigned to division M Judge Paulette R. Irons.

Case no. 2013-6648.

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