Other discussion:Skydog, posting on ESMB, wrote: New Haven Foreclosure
I just got back from the courthouse where I took a look at this file. The clerk's office charges a dollar a page for copies so I just took copious notes. Most civil cases in CT are "paperless" which means that they can be accessed through a computer network from any civil court in CT. Fortunately, I didn't need to go to New Haven and was able to access the documents locally.
In a nutshell:
The foreclosure deals with the tax years 2008 and 2009. October 1 is tax day. The tax due on July 1, 2009 in the amount of $16,702.96 was based on the 10-1-08 assessment. The tax bill for the following year (assessed 10-1-09/due 7-1-10) was $44,196.42. The court records indicate that the original complaint (filed 9-10-10) dealt only with the tax year 2008. In the answer, special defense, and counter-claim (filed 2-14-11) filed by the church, they raised issues concerning both tax years. Consequently, the city amended its original complaint(filed 3-22-11) to foreclose on the taxes assessed on October 1, 2009. The church was then obliged to file another answer, special defense, and counter-claim which they did on 5-11-11. This pleading is substantially the same as the original filed on Feb. 14.
The pleadings indicate that there may be unpaid sewer and water charges that have accrued on the property. The Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority and South Central Connecticut Water Control Authority are each named as defendants but no attorney has filed an appearance on either's behalf. In a foreclosure action, all parties that have an interest in the property must be named as defendants. Because they have been so named, I am assuming that there may be outstanding monies due.
Webster Bank was also named as a defendant based on the mortgage given them by the church on September 12, 2003. The mortgage note ($1,000,000.00) is secured by the property as well as an assignment of leases (customary in a commercial transaction). They are represented by counsel but have not filed an answer. The city has filed a motion to default them for their failure to do so. This motion has not been acted on by the court. The bank will in all likelihood be defaulted for either failing to plead or failure to disclose a defense.
The special defenses and counter-claim filed by the church allege essentially the same thing. They claim that the church was granted tax exempt status in 2007. They further claim that this tax exempt status was revoked in 2009 and further that they were not notified of the revocation. Because they were not notified of this revocation they did not file an appeal with either the board of assessment appeals (General Statutes 12-111) or in the superior court (General Statutes 12-119). The counter-claim is in eight counts (each count is a separate cause of action). Four of the counts deal with the tax year of 2008 and four with tax year 2009. The substance of each claim is the failure of the city to notify them that the tax exempt status was revoked. They More on that later.
The church's lawyer is Nicholas Mingione of New Haven, CT. He appears to have sufficient abrasiveness to be a desirable mouthpiece for the cult. See,http://northbranford.patch.com/articles ... eas-lawyer
There are affirmative obligations placed on tax payers wishing to exempt themselves from taxes. According to the city, the church never filed the necessary paperwork to continue this exemption. (according to the city's attorney).
The lack of notice claim is interesting for several reasons. In the first place, I am unaware of any obligation that would require the tax collector to "remind" tax payers that paperwork needs to be filed in order to continue an exemption. Tax collectors remind tax payers to pay taxes not to avoid them. Ignorance of the law is not a defense and the fact that they were not aware of this is just too bad for the church. In the second place, General Statutes, Sec. 12-119 provides a one year statute of limitations to file an appeal in superior court. That date begins on the date of the assessment. (10-1-08 and 10-1-09). The tax bills are due the following July and the church would have been sent a bills for these taxes the following June. So the absolute latest that the church would have had notice of the revoked status would be June 2009 and June 2010. So they still had four months with which to file an appeal on each of the tax years.
The most interesting thing about all this is that it confirms the many reports of the dire predicament the local churches are in as a result of the Ideal Org. program. The fact that the tax exempt status was revoked is a signal that the local churches do not have the funds to hire local counsel and tax professionals to avoid these types of problems. The fact that the tax exempt status was revoked was not even known was apparently not even known until suit was filed is an indication of a complete lack of communication.
http://forums.whyweprotest.net/threads/ ... sure.92031