Surprising Names on Unpaid Property Tax List - News, Weather & Sports

Surprising Names on Unpaid Property Tax List

Louisville, KY (WAVE) - The Department of Housing and Urban Development and a world famous hand surgeon are listed among those with unpaid property taxes in Louisville Metro. And as WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Eric Flack found out, big name or not everyone on the city's unpaid property tax list is on the verge of being forced even deeper in the hole.

74 year old Gene Harrington said he's not a deadbeat but he has a confession.

"I haven't paid my taxes," Harrington said.

He's not alone. The Jefferson County Clerk's office is trying to collect $16,200,000 in unpaid property taxes from 2010. And the list includes some surprising names.

HUD owes more than $60,000 on 34 different properties according to city records the WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department obtained. Those records also show the Kentucky Department of Transportation owes Louisville money too. KYDOT is listed with more than $5,400 in unpaid taxes on property it bought to clear way for the east end bridge.

Chuck Wolfe, KYDOT spokesman, is still researching the reasons behind the unpaid property tax bill. But in an email wrote "in general the standard procedure of the Transportation Cabinet is that the owner of property being acquired pays the tax bill for that year, then gets a prorated reimbursement from the cabinet. The property is then taken off the tax rolls in the following year."

When world famous hand surgeon Dr. Warren Breidenbach left Jewish Hospital for a job in Arizona records show he left behind more than $13,000 in unpaid property taxes. We emailed Dr. Breidenbach to find out why but haven't heard back.

The Louisville Arena Authority also made the list for more than $56,000 in unpaid property assessments on the KFC Yum! Center. The Arena Authority thought it was exempt but an appeal to the county attorney's office was denied.

To see the full list click here.

As for Harrington, he owes more than $144,000 for rental properties and a hotel he owns on Preston Highway. Harrington said the hotel lost money the last 3 years because of the recession.

"I am asset rich and I am cash poor," Harrington said.

By now everyone on the list should have gotten four notices the taxes were due. So next month the clerk's office will sell as many of the unpaid property tax bills as they can to third party investors who can then tack on 12% annual interest for up to ten years, with the option to foreclose on the property after a year if people can't pay the bill.

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw said the system allows them to get money they otherwise couldn't collect.

"You know if people are aware of the fact that they are going to sit there and nothing happens then obviously it is only going to encourage others not to pay," Holsclaw said.

The Clerk's office said the yearly tax bill sale can rake as much as $12,000,000 for the city. It also pushes people like Gene Harrington into an even deeper financial hole.

"Am I worried? Yes I am very worried," Harrington said. "And it hurts me big time to be put in this category, but I put myself there and I'm going to have to get me out."

Harrington said he's never been in financial trouble before.and is trying to sell off his rental property or get a loan to cover his unpaid tax bill.

If you have an unpaid tax bill you can't handle right now there is help out there. The Jefferson County Attorney's office is holding a clinic where people with unpaid property tax bills can work out a payment plan. Those already in debt to third party purchasers also can get help. The next clinic will be held Tuesday, June 21 at Northwest Neighborhood Place. It is located at 4108 W. Market Street and will go from 11a.m. to 1p.m.

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