Tax Liens Sold On Homeless Shelter Property
Company battling task force on ownership sues to halt buyers from foreclosing
The company that wants to evict a homeless shelter from Midtown is scrambling to prevent private tax-lien buyers from swooping in and foreclosing on the property before a trial next month resolves whether the company properly owns the deed.
Premium Funding Solutions, which claims to own the homeless shelter site at Peachtree and Pine streets, has asked a Fulton County judge to halt any possible attempts by InVesta Services LLC of Georgia and Tassa Enterprises LLC to foreclose on five tax liens they've purchased from the office of Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand since May 2012.
The petition noted that Premium Funding, which acquired the title to the property in 2011, has been unable to commence dispossessory proceedings against the shelter, collect rent or pay taxes pending the trial's outcome.
Premium Funding's attorney, Richard Robbins, said he and his client were surprised to learn recently that Ferdinand had been selling the liens, and that he doesn't think Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall and the special master he appointed to oversee the litigation, Strickland Brockington Lewis partner Frank Strickland, were aware of it either.
"That's one reason we filed the lawsuit. We found out about the sale of the liens after the fact," Robbins said. "We were astonished. We think the judge has been pretty clear that he wants to maintain the status quo."
Robbins said that his client hasn't been able to pay taxes because the litigation over the property's ownership has allowed the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless' shelter to remain without paying any rent.
"We're not getting income from the property, and [the Task Force] is allowed to stay there, and they're not paying any taxes" because charitable organizations are exempt.
Next month's trial will assess the Task Force's claim that lost its ownership of the building to Premium Funding through an illegal conspiracy.
"It seems antithetical to me to allow the same county to be charging us taxes as if we're a for-profit company when we're not generating any profits because of the county [court's] orders," Robbins said. "It's a rather insane situation, and we hope the judge puts a stop to it."
Attached to the petition are copies of five lien transfers: two to Tassa totaling $70,805, and three to InVesta totaling $71,690.