Out-of-towners owe big tax bills - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Out-of-towners owe big tax bills

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TOLEDO, Ohio -

Out-of-town property owners are causing big problems in Toledo neighborhoods. Not only are some of them leaving behind a mess of neglect, they're leaving behind a tax bill that some are simply walking away from, hurting all of us when it comes to things like libraries and schools. 

Neighbors on North Ontario in North Toledo are tired of seeing this mess every day.  

Mary Mcgrath lives near an abandoned home.

"It makes me feel like crud: feels like I'm a nobody. It makes you feel dirty."   

 But the owner of the place never sees it. That company is based in Long Beach, California. 

 Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz says, "What they leave in their wake is devastation in certain neighborhoods.  And it doesn't just hurt that family owners who's lost his or her house, it hurts everyone else on that block."  

The ownership company is called American Working Family Homes, Inc. and it's a company on the radar of people like Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz.

If you look at all its delinquent properties roughly $38,000 are owed in taxes. 

Kapszukiewicz says, "Out-of-state folks care mainly about making money and if coincidentally, accidentally the home is well-maintained well that's an accidental, coincidental lucky break but it's not what they're interested in." 

We reached out to the attorney for the man listed in several documents as the president of American Working Family.   He reached out to his client, but at this point they're not making any comment.  

Not good enough for neighbors like Mary. 

"They just don't care.  I would like them to step up and take care of these properties or get them torn down we are tired of looking at them." 

There are more victims that may not even know it.  Just under a $1,000 in taxes are owed on a Mulberry Street home, owned by American Working Family. But neighbors tell us people live here, they were not home when we stopped by. 

They may not even know that the California homeowner is behind on its taxes. 

So what's a solution to getting these taxes back here where they belong?  Kapszukiewicz says it's not easy.

"The problem is it's much more difficult to reach those people.  The tools we have are no different, our success rate is what suffers.  When people hide behind Limited Liability Corporations, they only provide PO boxes it makes it very difficult to track.  Much of their mission is hiding behind the paperwork and deliberately getting lost in the muck and murk of the bureaucracy.  In many cases their intention never is to pay taxes, and they succeed." 

 There's one thing the Treasurer is working on to help these neighborhoods. 

It's called the land bank.  It basically  takes properties that are way behind on taxes and instead of getting lost in court cases and bureaucracy, transfers the properties to new home owners quicker. 

Maybe to the next door neighbor that turns it into a larger yard or a community garden. 

The land bank has about 800 properties in  Lucas County.

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