(Lansing, MI – AP) – A lawyer is warning that local governments in Michigan could face a financial calamity if forced to repay surplus cash from the sale of tax-foreclosed properties. The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over a state law that allows treasurers to keep money left over after overdue property taxes are paid from a sale. Christina Martin, an attorney for two people in Oakland County, called it “stealing.”
Uri Rafaeli owed $8.41 on a rental property in Southfield. The bill grew to $285 with penalties and interest. Oakland County sold the house for $24,500 but refused to give him a dime, although the sale easily exceeded the overdue taxes. John Bursch argued at the Supreme Court on behalf of the county. If the law seems unfair, he says the public can urge lawmakers to change it.