Anonymous Businessman Settles Elderly Couple's Tax Nightmare

Remember the Atwoods? They were facing the possibility of losing their home after it was sold to pay $1.63 in property tax.

A businessman from St. Tammany Parish and his partner agreed to pay a settlement to Jamie Land, the company that bought the Atwood’s home at auction and was preventing them from selling the house or borrowing against it to repair damage caused by hurricane Katrina. The Atwoods have been living in a FEMA trailer on their property since the hurricane.

From the Times-Picayune:

The settlement was signed Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., Duplechain said, and paperwork was to be filed at the parish courthouse in Covington later Tuesday and today to clear the title to the property to the Atwoods.

Duplechain said the businessman, who wants to remain anonymous for now, stepped forward Monday after reading a story in The Times-Picayune about the couple’s plight. The attorney said he could not disclose the settlement amount.

Jamie Land Co. President James Lindsay II said the agreement calls for the amount of the settlement to remain undisclosed.

“But it wasn’t a lot of money,” he said. “We’ve been willing to settle this thing all along.”

So he’s saying they were living in a FEMA trailer because they enjoyed it? Anyway, happy ending! Yay!

Tax lien nightmare ends in Slidell
[Times-Picayune] (Thanks, Christopher!)

PREVIOUSLY: Elderly Couple Could Lose Home Over $1.63 Tax Bill
(Photo:Scott Threkeld)


Edit Your Comment

  1. banned says:

    That’s total BS. She shoulda’ taken it to the supreme court, not only for her sake, but for others. She obviously would have one. And those scammers don’t deserve a damn dime. Kudos to the businessman however.

  2. HeyThereKiller says:

    That’s fantastic.
    It’s refreshing to see that people still care enough about other people to get involved in situations like this one.

    Good for you Anonymous Businessman!

  3. QuirkyRachel says:

    Yeah! Now I can go home happy :)

  4. ancientsociety says:

    “But it wasn’t a lot of money,” he said. “We’ve been willing to settle this thing all along.”

    I.E. “We’ve been willing to scam money from someone, anyone really…”

  5. kbarrett says:

    A few decades ago, the scammers would have considered themselves lucky if they were merely rode out of town on a rail.

  6. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Mad props to the businessman who got them out. Big karma points!!
    As opposed to James A Lindsay of Bush, LA. If you are a church-goin’ person, you best be a-prayin’ big time.

  7. hubris says:

    While I’m happy they’re back in their house, this doesn’t really change anything for anyone but them. Why the hell don’t tax bills come by certified mail with return receipt, so that it can be verified that it was delivered? That would have solved all of this. Of course, common sense on a friggin $1.63 tax bill leading to all this would have also helped. I’m sure someone along the way would have blamed it on a computer that doesn’t care how much you owe, just that you owe something.

  8. Chicago7 says:


    Because it costs something like $5 to send a certified letter?

    The real question is, why would anybody do business with this Jamie Land Company again?

  9. Catalyst says:

    If the government can’t send your tax bill certified mail because of the cost, someone better tell them how much this pointless war is costing us.

  10. Sudonum says:

    And someone has to be home to sign for it, or go to the PO to pick them up. Yes, I know, small potatoes compared to losing your house. But since 99.9% of all tax bills get delivered correctly, this is not a huge problem.

  11. overbysara says:

    this is awesome… but I feel like it doesn’t actually address what happened.

  12. dbeahn says:

    Anyone think the Consumerist posting a “paypal” donations link for us to kick in a few bucks here and there towards the (by now no doubt more substantial) repair bills?

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Sudonum: Maybe 99.9% of tax bills get delivered correctly, but look at the .1 % that didn’t. I wouldn’t want to be in that group because they’ll take your whole damn house without even telling you for a lousy $1.63. Just add the $5.00 to my tax bill. I’d hardly notice it compared to the other $4300.00.

  14. Sudonum says:

    At my house we usually know when the property tax bills are coming within a couple of weeks. And if we haven’t received it by a certain date we start checking with the parish or the sheriff.

    These people had never received a tax bill before since the value of their house had been below their homestead exemption. That year the property had been reappraised, and the tax, after homestead exemption was $1.63. If they had know that they were over their exemption they would have also known that there was a bill coming.

    However if you want to go ahead and pay extra to have your tax bill sent certified, go right ahead and let your assessor know.

  15. balthisar says:

    Why are calling these guys scammers? They did everything perfectly legally. It’s the local government that screwed up!!

    You could call in unconscionable, but there’s nothing illegal about that. Is everyone that purchases property at a tax auction a scammer???

  16. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    It’s not the tax bills that should come certified, it’s the notifications that say you haven’t paid your tax bill that should come certified.
    And if those aren’t signed for, they should be hand delivered by a process server.

  17. Doc Benway says:

    @rocnrule: Its great that they settled. I agree that this should be litigated out. However, keep in mind that our legal system is designed and structured by lawyers. Its all about procedure. I just recently settled a lawsuit I filed 4 years ago. I don’t think the elderly couple could wait 4 years living in a FEMA trailer.

  18. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Sudonum: Well, it’s the same here. I know when the tax bills are coming and if I don’t get one, I’ll call the town and find out why it hasn’t arrived. But with the reappraisal and everything, since it was a new bill, they might not even have known they owed anything. So I hear what you’re saying…you can’t just ignore the tax bills and not pay them because they don’t show up..but between a change in the tax owed, coupled with the fact they were elderly (I think?) would be easy enough for them to miss it.

    I’m also thinking of my late grandmother who was easily confused and if the town never sent her a bill, she wouldn’t know to pay it. I don’t think it’s right to assume that just because somebody doesn’t go chasing after a bill that they’re avoiding it on purpose, and there should at least be a few more chances before the town/county/parish can seize the property.

  19. miborovsky says:

    Who said charity doesn’t work? ;)

  20. evil_doer420 says:

    I do not get how this can happen. Follow my logic. Lady owes taxes, government takes house from lady for taxes, gov’t sells house to company, company sues lady? Why is this company not suing the government? They sold the house they were not entitled to sell, as the court ruled. Baffling start to finish.

  21. rdldr1 says:

    … and THATS another reason why I HATE old people.

  22. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Any tax bill under $100 should just be WAIVED. I mean seriously, how much is it going to cost them to actually collect on it? Way more than $100, I’ll tell you that, and now the taxpayers are pissed.

  23. asherchang says:

    Quick poll: which do you think was worse, the selling of a house for 1.38 in property tax, or California’s regular seizing of valuables in security vaults whenver it deems them “abandoned” after a few years?

  24. @IRSistherootofallevil: Once I paid a tax bill of $0.17.

    On my end the stamp, check, and envelope cost more than the tax … I can’t imagine processing the damn thing wasn’t equally as ridiculously “expensive.”

  25. Morgan says:

    @omerhi: The bill was returned undeliverable; the local government already knew it hadn’t been delivered. Certified mail wouldn’t have changed anything in this case; the problem was the local government not taking steps to get the bill to them anyway.

    @asherchang: Do you have a reference to this? It isn’t something I’ve heard of happening.

  26. gafpromise says:

    To all you haters, it’s not Jamie Land’s fault. They signed a deal in good faith with the local government to purchase the property. Their next move should be suing the governmental agency that screwed up.

  27. Cowboys_fan says:

    “Quick poll: which do you think was worse, the selling of a house for 1.38 in property tax, or California’s regular seizing of valuables in security vaults whenver it deems them “abandoned” after a few years?”

    Definately the house selling.

  28. Youthier says:

    @gafpromise: Well, I agree. But I think Jamie Land should never have pursued selling this elderly couple. They could have just sued the local government.

  29. mrrbob says:

    This Jamie Land co guy had an opportunity to show what kind of human being he was and he took full advantage to prove he was one of the biggest out and out assholes on planet earth.

    If I was at the f,ing tax auction I would have bought that house also to make a buck but upon hearing the poor owners true story I would have drove straight to their (now my???) Home and explained everything and presented them with the deed etc. If I was a shameless self promoter I would have called up the local news paper and had a reporter meet me there. Can you Imagen the good will you would have generated for your name and business?

    BUT noooo not the Jamie Land co owner, no sir. He chose to compete for the worlds biggest asshole award. He has my vote. I think I’ll find out his address and ups him a turd from my German shepherd. I suggest you all do the same. Maybe he will get the message that the world does not exactly like him. Maybe god will forgive him but down here on earth we people don’t have that obligation so lets show him what a turd he is. Do you think he may get the idea after he opens box number 1000 and finds turd #1000?