Frederick County Government Scams Local Family in Land Deal.
Frederick County Government sold a piece of land that did not exist to a local family and refuses to refund the money but still demands they pay property taxes.
By: Big Woods LLC
We thought this could be a chance to combine our little piece with the nearly 4 acre section owned by the County. After some research we discovered that the County had come to own the parcel from a tax sale. We assumed that there was some value there but it would require research and work to make it usable.
The County required us to go through a public hearing. We hired my dad's friend, Rand Weinberg to represent us. Mr. Weinberg is an excellent attorney who works with many people from Frederick County.
At the hearing the County seemed almost reluctant to sell us the property for the assesed value of $28,000; they seemed to think we were going to turn around and sell it for big money. They voted 3 to 2 and sold us the property for the assessed value: $28,000.
Note: the County acquired the property in a tax sale for $1,800 a few years earlier. So they profited over $26,000 in the sale to us.
Now, the twist in the story:
The reason the County obtained the property in a tax sale is because a "phantom" parcel had been created a couple of years prior to this for the purpose of a "land grab". Here is how it worked: The 4 acre site was part of a larger piece of land years ago. The property was broken up among family members and the owner died without a will. During the process of settling his estate his grand daughter became the owner. She lives out of state so the property was all but forgotten.
A local business man and his ex-wife drew up a bogus quit claim deed describing the property and filed it with the State Department of Assessment and Taxation. This created a bogus property tax account and the "phantom" parcel. They did not pay the first property tax bill and let the account go to tax sale in order to clear any liens. For some reason they never moved forward with the "land grab". Frederick County bought the parcel and it "sat on the shelf" for years until we came along.
This is the land the County sold us. This parcel does not really exist, it really is like a ghost property.
Twice now we have asked for a refund but the County's response is basically: "You knew you were taking a risk" or in other words: "Sorry Sucker!"
Yes we knew there were no garuntees, but we would never have bought property that some one else aleady owned AND THE COUNTY WAS COLLECTING PROPERTY TAX FROM THE RIGHTFUL OWNER THE WHOLE TIME.
So if you do the math:
The County paid $1,800 at the bogus tax sale; then sold it to us for $28,000 and collect 2 years of property tax. Basically they have received about $27,000 from a bogus land scam.