We have had a good experience to date with officials in our County government. Everyone of them went overboard to ensure that we had timely and complete answers to our questions. They all went above and beyond the call of duty to help a taxpayer. Now let us show you the response we received from Ms. Lorraine Fende, the Lake County Treasurer. We will let the taxpayers decide if she displayed what I call “a lack of candor” in the way she tackled inquiries from a group of taxpayers.
Dear Ms. Fende:
Upon reviewing the Lake County Treasurer’s website, we noticed a link to “Sold Tax Lien Certificates”. Since we have little knowledge of this subject, it has peeked our interest to discover as much as we can about this subject. We did visit the Treasurer’s office and was told that the company, Tax Ease Ohio, LLC, earns a 17% – 18% guaranteed return on their investments. That fact alone has now caused us to start doing extensive research on this subject.
We are requesting the following information from the Lake County Treasurer’s office:
1. What is the Ohio Revised Code statute that permits paying outside entities to collect delinquent property taxes?
2. May we have all copies of all contracts, agreements, or memorandums of understanding between Tax Ease Ohio, LLC and Lake County. Electronic copies of the documents are preferred.
3. What are the services performed by Tax Ease Ohio, LLC for the Treasurer’s office?
4. What is the legal structure of Tax Ease Ohio, LLC?
5. Who are the owners, employees, and board of directors, if applicable, of Tax Ease Ohio, LLC?
6. How were the services, currently being performed by Tax Ease Ohio, LLC, previously performed for the Treasurer’s office?
7. How was Tax Ease Ohio, LLC chosen to perform these services for the Treasurer’s office?
8. We would like a summary of all transactions between Tax Ease Ohio, LLC and the Treasurer’s office, to include the annual number and dollar amount of possible transactions available to Tax Ease Ohio, LLC, the annual number of transactions and the dollar amount of those transactions selected by Tax Ease Ohio, LLC , and the annual amounts paid to Tax Ease Ohio, LLC by the Treasurer’s office for all services rendered by Tax Ease Ohio, LLC on behalf of the Treasurer’s office and the Lake County taxpayers.
9. Who pays the 17% – 18% interest to Tax Ease Ohio, LLC? Are there other fees paid to Tax Ease Ohio, LLC by the Treasurer’s office or the delinquent taxpayers?
10. Is there a selection process available to Tax Ease Ohio, LLC. That is, can they be selective in which tax liens they choose? If they can be selective, what criteria is used by the Treasurer’s office and Tax Ease Ohio, LLC?
11. If Tax Ease Ohio, LLC does not accept all of the cases of unpaid property taxes, which County agency is responsible for collecting the balance of the unpaid property taxes?
We are sure that we will have additional questions after reviewing your responses to our initial questions.
Here are Ms. Fende’s responses to our questions. Please tell me if you believe this is a response that a concerned elected official should give to a taxpayer. Or, does this indicate a bureaucrat that cannot be bothered answering questions by an annoying taxpayer?
What Ms. Fende does not realize is that Lobbyists For Citizens will keep asking questions until we believe that we have the complete story and our politicians have been completely honest and transparent with us.
There is much more to come on this issue….