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  • City will be going after only those seeking to profit off real estate, not individual homeowners.

The City of Detroit plans to file nearly 600 lawsuits, against mostly banks and companies, to recover over $12.2 million in unpaid property taxes owed from 2010-12.

The City has sent demand letters out this week to banks, investment companies and others, and plans to file all of the suits before the end of the month, mostly in 36th District Court. It is seeking to recoup an average of $19,942 per suit and $7,898 per parcel, covering 1,543 parcels.

“For too long, there are those who chose not to pay what they owed in taxes, leaving everyone else to pay the price,” said David Szymanski, treasurer and deputy chief financial officer for the City of Detroit. “We are working to improve City services for our residents, and to do that – whether its better police and fire protection, streetlights or better schools for our children – we need everyone who does business in this city to pay their fair share.”

The City will be going after only those who own property for profit, such as banks and companies. It is not going after any individual who owns fewer than three properties and is not associated with an LLC or company.

“We are not talking about the family that has fallen on tough times, those struggling to decide whether to feed their children or pay their taxes,” Szymanski said. “We went to great lengths to ensure that we were going after only those who bought property as investments, not as a place to live. This is about those who tried to make money without paying what they owed. We are standing up for our property owners who paid their taxes and played by the rules.”

The City will also be attempting to recoup taxes owed to Wayne County, Wayne County Community College District, Wayne RESA, the Detroit Public Schools and others.

This is the first round of an ongoing effort by the City to recover what it is owed, with the City planning to go after delinquent taxes for other years, as well.

Under Michigan law, a city can sue a property owner over delinquent taxes, regardless of whether the property has gone through foreclosure or auction and has been sold.

“We are trying to make it harder for profit-seekers to sit and speculate on property without keeping it up or paying taxes like everyone else,” Szymanski said. “The message here should be clear: If you’re going to do business in Detroit, you have to pay your share, just like everybody else.”

The City will send demand letters to the owners of delinquent property taxes this week.  Those who receive such letters, but opt not to settle their debts, can expect to have lawsuits filed against them by the end of the month.  Persons or entities who receive a demand letter from the City of Detroit are encouraged to immediately call (844)871-3126 to settle their accounts.

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