An Indiana town has rallied around a woman whose home was bought during a tax auction for $43 without her knowledge. The Town Council of Cedar Lake, Indiana, voted unanimously to attempt to purchase the land from Clayton Pullins, the man who purchased the home in the auction.
The land was previously owned by a church, but the woman, 67-year-old Dolores Pittman, had lived there since she was 12. The house was put up for auction after the church failed to pay taxes on it, and upon becoming the new owner, Pullins attempted to charge Pittman $300 per month for rent. Prior to the tax auction, Pittman’s family had paid $10 per month to the church for the property, leasing it for several years.
Town treasurer John Petalas claims that a lack of communication is responsible for the reclaiming of the house.
“For some reason nobody told this lady and/or anybody else the land was on a tax sale, consequently the man who bought it only paid $43 for land,” Petalas said.
Town Council President Randall Niemeyer explained that the council wanted to ensure that Pittman would be able to stay in her home without any further problems from tax collectors or the local government. To do so, they plan to offer her a “life estate” on the building.
“Mrs. Pittman has lived there a long time, and this is an arrangement that, to me, serves the public interest, and a human interest. She’ll be able to stay there for the rest of her life,” Niemeyer told the Chicago Tribune.
According to the Daily Mail, Pittman “lost her eyesight to a degenerative disease 30 years ago.” Her condition as well as her unfortunate circumstances regarding the loss of her house have led her to donations from those that have seen her media coverage, which Pittman planned to use to rent a nearby house if she has to give up her current location. She claims that she’ll use the donations to undergo renovations to the house if the town council’s plan does go through. There has been no recent comment from Pittman, who is legally the current owner of the building.