State law says that such a surplus rightfully belongs to the person who owned the property. - AAG David Huey
For the last few years you’ve been calling me a scam artist, saying the overage funds we claimed actually belong to former owners who sold us their properties because the law, RCW 84.64.080, says so.
You even sued me over it and won, obtaining a judgment that included nearly $650k in restitution to these same owners in repayment of the overage funds we collected.
I beg to differ
Of course, we’ve said time and time again the law says no such thing and could not possibly say such a thing. We bought properties and, as owners, any profits we created were ours to keep.
The Court of Appeals ruled on your interpretation of RCW 84.64.080 today, forever answering the question, “Who gets the money?”
In this corner
Put succinctly, (and straight from the horse’s mouth), here’s your position . . .
After taxes are paid from the sale price, there may be substantial money left over. State law says that such a surplus rightfully belongs to the person who owned the property (when the suit to foreclosure was filed).— Assistant Attorney General David Huey
And here is mine . . .
A property owner in tax foreclosure is free to sell me his property, including any claim to future overage funds that may materialize at the tax sale. And once sold, his rights become my rights.Joseph M. Kaiser
But who cares what I think? Here’s what the Court of Appeals, Division II, State of Washington has ruled . . .
Because RCW 84.64.080 was intended to protect the treasurer in paying out tax sale proceedings and not to determine ownership or prevent a tax-delinquent property owner from selling his or her interests, we reverse and remand for the trial court to determine who actually owned the property at the time of the sale.
Who owned the property at the time of the sale?
That would be me, and, as such, I am the rightful owner of the overage funds in question. The ruling continues . . .
. . . the trial court erred in finding the assignment void under RCW 84.64.080 because the procedural nature of RCW 84.64.080 has no impact on determining the rightful owner of the proceeds. –Authored by Judge David H. Armstrong,
Concurring Judge J. Robin Hunt and
Judge Marywave Van Deren
Here’s the complete Court of Appeals Opinion.
The State v. Kaiser
We can now be certain RCW 84.64.080 has “no impact” on the ownership of overage funds. None, and it never did, in spite of the ridiculous claims your office made to the Court and in the press suggesting it did.
Likewise, we can now be certain that contrary to your office’s farcical contentions, the law does not unconstitutionally reinvest former owners with rights to claim proceeds from properties they’ve long since sold.
The Damage is done
With zero consumer complaints, this investigation started because Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Bob Dick, upset about paying us overage funds (the County prefers to keep the funds), told your office we were violating RCW 84.64.080.
We weren’t, and Bob Dick was 100% in error.
As were all the county treasurers who told former owners “the law says it’s your money.” It doesn’t. Yes, Lisa and Barbara and Steve and Rose and Phil and McGoon and all the rest of you who said we’d scammed sellers by simply buying their properties (and paying them in full), we didn’t.
As are you and your office, Rob, about what we investors do. 100% wrong. Buying properties in tax foreclosure and using the sale as an exit strategy is not a scam and never was.
And yes, it’s really that simple . . .
We bought junk properties in tax foreclosure, let them continue on to sale in hopes there’d be an overage, and the Court of Appeals has now confirmed any overages those sales created are ours to keep.
100% ours, in fact, and EXACTLY what I’ve been saying all along.
It begs the question, “How could the Attorney General of the State of Washington be so completely wrong regarding basic, fundamental property rights?”
I shudder at the very thought.
In the arena,