Legal Aid asks court to void tax sale of elderly Scottsbluff couple’s home

January 21, 2019

SCOTTSBLUFF — Attorneys with Legal Aid have filed to attempt to prevent a company from taking possession of a Scottsbluff residence that it had purchased via tax dead.

According to filings in Scotts Bluff County District Court, Continental Resources, an Omaha business, had purchased a tax deed dated July 24, 2018, and recorded Aug. 13, 2018, for property owned by Kevin L. Fair and Terry A. Fair. A debt recovery company, Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC, was also named as a party as Continental Resources sought to be decreed the “absolute owner” and take possession of the property, listed as a residence in the 2100 block of Avenue D. . According to documents in the case, Continental Resources filed its complaint on Oct. 31, 2018.

On Nov. 30, the Fairs, represented by Legal Aid, filed a motion to dismiss, which was overruled after a Jan. 4 hearing. On Jan. 14, Legal Aid filed on behalf of the Fairs, also naming Scotts Bluff County and the Nebraska Attorney Generals Office in a third party complaint, citing the delinquent tax process as unconstitutional. The filing also claims that Continental Resources will be unjustly enriched as the market value of the property is listed at $59,759 and the plaintiff’s only paid $5,965.74 for the property. The Fairs did not have a mortgage on the property and will be stripped of the equity in there home, according to the complaint. The Fairs are seeking to void the sale and issuance of the tax deed to Continental Resources for the Fair’s home.

Mike Meister, managing attorney of Legal Aid of Scottsbluff, is acting as lead counsel for the Fairs, according to a press release issued by Legal Aid

In the press release, Legal Aid described Kevin and Terry Fair as an elderly couple who couldn’t afford $588.21 in back property taxes after Terry Fair lost her job due to an ongoing medical condition. Kevin Fair had taken early retirement to stay home and take care of his wife when the couple received notice that Continental Resources had paid the unpaid taxes from March 2015.

“People need to pay their taxes, but we believe the process allowing the county to take the property of one person and transfer it to someone else that stands to make a substantial profit, is unjust. The Fairs simply want to keep their home, work hard to catch up with their taxes, and keep what little wealth they have in their property. That’s not too much to ask, and we believe it’s both wrong and unconstitutional to let the county and investor seize over $50,000 in equity — ten times what is now owed in taxes — and kick the Fairs out in the process.”

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