A Kalamazoo, Mich., mother is about to lose her home, after missing a single property tax payment.
Deborah Calley was in a devastating car accident in 2008 that left her with injuries to her arms, wrists and neck. Calley said that she also had four big bruises on her brain.
In the early stages of her recovery, she was unable to do many things for herself—even tasks as simple as getting dressed in the morning posed a serious problem.
In 2010, Calley found a home on Bunkerhill Drive in Richland, which she called her dream home. Believing the home would make recovery easier while she was still raising her two children, she paid cash for the house.
“It was a five-minute walk from the middle school, a 10-minute walk from the high school, 10 minutes from the grocery store and the bank,” Calley said of the ideally-located house.
Four years later, however, that home has now been foreclosed—and all because Calley missed a single property tax payment.
“When I paid the taxes in 2012 right there in Richland, no one said, ‘Oh, well you still owe money for 2011. So, I didn’t really have a clue. I thought I was right on time,” Calley said.
Although court documents show that several notices were sent out from the county treasurer’s office over the last year, Calley said that she didn’t see a single one.
Fox 17 Problem Solvers discovered that while 10 letters were sent out, only one was addressed to Calley: the others were all sent to banks.
Calley, meanwhile, says that she never received the single letter that was addressed to her home, nor has she ever “been affiliated with any of those banks, ever.”
Realtor Doorlag noted that confusion over property taxes causes a large number of foreclosures in Kalamazoo County.
Now, Calley has until Sept. 19 to convince a judge that proper notice of foreclosure failed to take place. She has said that she simply wants to pay what she owes and keep her home.
“To take my $164,000 house over less than $2,000, I would say that’s extremely excessive,” a distraught Calley said. “If I had a mortgage, a bank never would’ve let that happen.”
“My life has been turned upside down because of this,” she added. “I had to send my youngest daughter, who’s still in school, to live with her father so she can have a home, because I don’t know if I have a home anymore.”
If the county decides to keep her home, it will be auctioned; if the amount it’s sold for is greater than the taxes owed, Kalamazoo County will also keep the profits. And, according to Kalamazoo County corporate counsel Thom Canny, the county is within its legal rights to take the home.