In Brief to U.S. Supreme Court The Buckeye Institute Argues Cuyahoga County Essentially Robbed Plaintiff of $79,000 in Equity

Dec 02, 2020

Columbus, OH – On Tuesday, The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Feltner v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision asking the high court to protect the rights of citizens who have their property seized. Buckeye’s brief argues that the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause requires a county government to refund excess equity to a landowner when the county seizes that land in a tax foreclosure.  

“The Buckeye Institute is asking the Supreme Court to affirm the fundamental principle—that dates back to the Magna Carta and was embraced by our Founding Fathers—that government can take property for public use only when it provides ‘just compensation’ to the owner,” said Jay R. Carson, senior litigator with The Buckeye Institute’s Legal Center. “Not only was Mr. Feltner’s property seized to satisfy a $65,000 tax bill, but Cuyahoga County cancelled the debt and gave the property to the county land bank, essentially robbing Mr. Feltner of the $79,000 in equity.”

In Feltner v. Cuyahoga County Board of Revision, which was brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation, the county seized Mr. Feltner’s property, which was appraised for more than $144,000, to satisfy a $65,000 tax bill. Rather than selling the property at auction and refunding the excess profits to Mr. Feltner, Cuyahoga County transferred the property to the county land bank, essentially robbing Feltner of the $79,000 in equity that had built up over the years. 

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UPDATE: March 29, 2021, cert was denied by the Supreme Court of the United States.