County Board considers foreclosure lawsuits

CRYSTAL FALLS—At the Feb. 19 meeting of the Iron County Board of Commissioners, Treasurer Melanie Camps and Civil Counsel Steve Tinti updated officials on the status of the foreclosure lawsuits potentially threatening the county government, which had been brought to their attention in December of last year.
    Lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of tax foreclosures in Michigan had been filed as part of a statewide effort. The thrust of the argument in this affair is that the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution – in addition to its more well-known power allowing individuals to protect themselves from self-incrimination – also has language that protects citizens from having the government take more from them than is owed.
    Those behind the lawsuit argue that this clause is being violated in the state of Michigan via foreclosures, and it is this dispute over the state and local governments propriety – or potential lack thereof – in foreclosure enforcement which has led to a number of county governments being caught up in this suit.
    Camps, discussing the state of the suit after attending the Michigan Association of County Treasurers Conference during the last week in January in Gaylord, said that the news was “not good” for those opposed to the suit. She said that none of the U.P. counties that are “opt-in” have yet to be served, but all other counties have been.
    She then went on to say that the suit has the potential of substantially changing the foreclosure process.
    She continued by stating that the consensus at the conference was that extreme caution should be taken by counties and treasurers at this time. She also said that she had been keeping Tinti informed of any developments. Another recommendation was that funds received from foreclosure auctions go into escrow at this time, due to the lawsuit.

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