Last week, we published an article about how Wayne County consistently lets people bidding at the annual property tax auction break its own rules. The county says those with unpaid taxes or blight tickets can’t purchase property, and simply takes them at their word.
The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office provided a statement to us after publication, which provoked more questions than answers. The office said through spokesperson Darci McConnell that it does check prior to issuing a deed whether buyers are in violation of the rules, but “we do not preclude participation in the auction as the law does not mandate that condition.”
McConnell added that the treasurer’s office checks whether people are in violation by asking municipalities if buyers have any unpaid blight tickets. The city is currently suing one of those buyers, Dennis Kefallinos, for not maintaining four of his properties.
The city’s Director of Media Relations John Roach confirmed the county asks for this data, and the city provides it. The county declined to tell us what it does with that information.
Based on what we found while reporting this piece, the most likely answer is nothing.
Meanwhile, Salameh Jaser — another landlord who bought properties at the auction while accruing blight tickets — received demolition orders from the city at three of his properties.
Hat tip to Eric Dueweke for spotting the limited liability companies linked to Jaser in the City Council agenda and forwarding them to us. Got a tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.