A Pennsylvania judge ruled last week that failing to pay $6.30 in interest was ample reason for a widow’s home to be sold for less than half of its appraised value at a 2011 tax auction.
The ruling came as the result of Eileen Battisti’s fight to reclaim her home which was sold at a tax auction near Aliquippa, Pa., in September of 2011.
According to The Associated Press, Beaver County Common Pleas Judge Gus Kwidis ruled that the widow was provided with ample warning by local authorities that the miniscule debt would result in the confiscation of her home.
“There is no doubt that [she] had actual receipt of the notification of the tax upset sale on July 7, 2011, and Aug. 16, 2011,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “Moreover, on Aug. 12, 2011, a notice of sale was sent by first class mail and was not returned.”
The $6.30 interest charge ballooned to just $235 over two years.
The home, which is reportedly worth $280,000, was auctioned for just $116,000. Most of the money raised by the local government in stealing and selling Battisti’s home against her will is reportedly to be paid to the widow if her planned appeal of the latest ruling in the case is unsuccessful.
Joe Askar, Beaver County’s solicitor, said that he felt bad for the woman who lost her husband and now her home— but not bad enough to disagree with the judge’s ruling.
“It’s bad – she had some hard times, I guess her husband kind of took care of a lot of that stuff,” Askar said. “It seemed that she was having a hard time coping with the loss of her husband – that just made it set in a little more.”
Battisti, who is currently still residing in the home, plans to appeal to Commonwealth Court.
H/T: The Associated Press