Posted May 2nd, 2008 by Joe Kaiser

Cheryl, then an Assistant Attorney General, told my attorneys that unclaimed tax sale overages escheating to county expense funds were "insignificant."

Dear Rob,

I’m guessing this entire “foreclosure rescue scam” misadventure is the result of Pierce County Prosecutor Bob Dick’s issues with our idea of using tax sales as exit strategies.

He’s convinced our “overage plays” get in the way of his county’s overage plays, and that’s how this “zero consumer complaints” investigation got started.

Sure, I may be completely wrong, but I doubt it.

It’s a turf war

Readers who weren’t around from the beginning may not understand this so-called consumer protection lawsuit against me involved no actual consumer complaints.

In reality, it’s simply a turf war over tax sale overages.

We buy junk lots from people who’ve decided to just let them go, and we sometimes let the foreclosure process continue, hoping they’ll sell at a profit at the tax sale.

In 2002, when we did 12 of these in Pierce County alone, it became obvious we’d “cracked the code” and were a threat to the county’s gravy train.

Traditionally, unclaimed tax sale overages “escheat” to the county, and in 1999 Pierce County pocketed $162,026.14 when Mallia Marie failed to claim her funds (she didn’t know about them).

I suspect that $162k was still fresh on Bob’s mind when our 12 claims crossed his desk, and that was too much for him to ignore. He may have even developed a taste for this sweet, free money ($162k dropping into your lap will do that to you).


Who cares?

Well, not attorney Cheryl Kringle.

Cheryl, then an Assistant Attorney General, told my attorneys that unclaimed tax sale overages escheating to county expense funds were “insignificant.”

I beg to differ.

The Spreadsheet

On September 25, 2007, some seven months ago, I undertook the challenge of determining the so-called insignificance of funds escheating to counties through unclaimed tax sale overages.

Since then, we’ve exchanged hundreds of emails with county treasurers, paid hundreds of dollars for copying costs and postage, and spent hundreds of hours pouring over public record documents, assembling a “Who’s Escheating Who” spreadsheet.

Some counties were great and got us everything we requested without delay (thank you!). Some took months and fought us every step of the way (Grant County). And, at least one didn’t respond at all.

But, though hardly complete and likely filled with more than a few gaps, we’ve finished the project and have, as best as we can determine, the final results.

And now we know.

Windfall profits

I’ll provide the complete breakdown in the next few weeks, Rob, but believe me when I tell you the number is hardly insignificant. Unless, that is, you consider THREE MILLION DOLLARS insignificant.

Yes, thanks to my staff’s efforts, $3,010,213.69 is now documented to have dropped into the laps of Washington State county treasurers over the last 5 to 10 years.

Free money.

And the reason Bob Dick put you folks up to this foolishness?

I can think of 3,010,213.69 of them.

In the arena,

Joe Kaiser

3 Responses to: “$3,010,213.69”

  1. JT Brofft responds:
    Posted: May 3rd, 2008 at 10:55 am

    And who will “indite” the Inditors” over this practice…? (162K appropriation).

    This once again proves that Politicians and their dowry are sacrosanct.

    Never step onto their turf or you become the blade of grass and they the lawnmower. Sounds about like what you are dealing with here Joe.

  2. Loya responds:
    Posted: May 4th, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am here to report that the counties have wrongfully taken not just hundreds or thousands or even hundreds of thousands but millions of dollars from good law abiding citizens and they are hoping and waiting for you to return these monies to them………I rest my case………

  3. Davido responds:
    Posted: May 9th, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Well done Joe!

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