City hall promises to take action after our investigation into tax speculators in Providence
More reaction tonight to an Eyewitness News Investigators exclusive.. We uncovered people losing their homes over back taxes owed the city..
On the heels of our investigation, city officials are now calling for changes in the system that allows real estate speculators to profit from the misfortune of property owners.
Mayor David Cicilline says the property taxsale sytem is a bad system that hurts individuals and neighborhoods and he vows to change it
O ur investigation shows a handful of speculators bought about half the tax liens at a recent property tax sale in P rovidence.
The speculators collect interest and fees from property owners who've fallen behind in taxes.....
Or the speculators simply hold the property for a year and a day and start foreclosure proceedings.
ďż˝Speculators don't typically take the kind of interest in the healthy development of the community that obviously homeowners do so it's not a good system.ďż˝
C icilline says he's asked his top administrators to come up with a better system, even if it requires a change in state law.
ďż˝We're thinking of going to a lottery system. We're thinking of possibly doing away with the tax sales and seeing if we can find a financial institution to acquire all the liens at one time mange the liens.ďż˝
P rignano says the city will correct a problem that was identified by the investigators and that is that lien owners and not the property owners are notified of outstanding taxes.
ďż˝We want to come up now with the ability to send out a dupicate bill to that owner so we are doing everything we can to notify them.ďż˝
S peculator Peter Marinucci told us when he gets a tax bill on a lien property, he simply sends it back to thecity.
Speculators like Patrick Conley are adept at getting tax liens properties.
Eyewitness News identified about a dozen conley-related partnerships that have purchased tax liens on hundreds, perhaps thousands of properties.
Last night we examined the case of a couple who lost a property worth more than $200,000.
We also detailed the case of joseph benton who's trying to hold onto a house that's been in his family for 30 years.
ďż˝I mean it is just unfair that someone can literally lose their house over $200, $300, or $400. It's just not fair. ďż˝
Lombardi says he's confident the city council is ready to do what's necessary to change the system.
He agrees with mayor Cicilline they'll probably have to start at the general assembly and change the laws that regulate tax sales throughout the state.