Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. – Underwriters’ Bulletin Casenotes – March 2014 | Volume 7 – Number 3

In re Application of the County Treasurer (IL)

Summary: Tax purchaser must provide a correct section 22-5 notice with expiration for the period of redemption. The statute prohibits the time period to end on a weekend or holiday. Failure to satisfy the precise notice requirements will result in an invalid notice.

 

In re Application of the County Treasurer, 2013 IL App (1st) 130103.

 

Go to full opinion.

 

Facts: In August 2008, Salta Group, Inc. (Salta) purchased the 2006 delinquent taxes of a property located in Hazel Crest, Illinois. In December 2008, Salta filed a notice pursuant to 35 ILCS 220/22-5, with the Cook County clerk’s office listing on the notice the expiration of the redemption period as February 12, 2011, which was a Saturday. In August 2011, after no one attempted to redeem the property, Salta filed a petition for tax deed. In September 2011, the trial court appointed Petitioner Matthew Flamm as receiver. Notice was served on all parties who had an interest and no one appeared to object. Flamm then filed an application with the court for the issuance of the tax deed. However, in July 2012, the trial court denied the application, stating that the 22-5 notice was invalid.

 

Holding: Affirmed. The Appellate court considered In Re Application of the Country Treasurer, 2011 IL App (1st) 101966, 955 N.E.2d 669 (hereinafter, Glohry) as well as the legislative intent and cannons of interpretation in their reasoning. Flamm first argued that Glohry should not apply because no party raised any objections before the trial court to the notices. The purpose of the statute, however, is to protect the occupants whose taxes were purchased. The fact that no one objected does not render proper an otherwise improper notice. Correct notice is essential to provide interested parties with the knowledge necessary to act upon their rights.      

The notice statute does not provide for an assumed extension. There is no authority to support the position that a tax purchaser should know that when a redemption period is scheduled to end on a weekend, the property owner may still make a payment on the first following non-holiday weekday. The statute prohibits the time period to end on a weekend. The Saturday date listed on the notice was improper because weekends must be excluded from the calculation; therefore, the correct end of the redemption period should be the following weekday, which was not included on the notice, making it per se improper.

Flamm argued that the relevant section of Glohry is not applicable because it is dicta. Nevertheless, the court found this type of dicta to be persuasive. Although Glohry based its analysis on hypothetical facts, the analysis is still valid and applicable here.

Glohry requiring the notice to be correct is not a departure from previous precedent. Flamm cited no case law to support the position that the established precedent is substantial compliance. The only time reviewing courts have dealt with the issue is Glohry, holding that the notice must be “exactly correct.” Furthermore, the reason that section 22-5 is not included by the legislature in the list of provisions requiring strict compliance is that, unlike those listed, 22-5 contains no ambiguous language about compliance. 

Lastly, Flamm argued that the legislature’s failure to include 22-5 in the list of provisions requiring strict compliance “reflects an understanding of the crude nature of that notice and that no party will lose title as a result of that notice.” However, Flamm cites no authority to support this argument, which therefore is forfeited.

 

Opinion Year: 
2013
Jurisdiction: 
Illinois

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