On Saturday, January 6, 2024, My Herald Review reported that the Arizona Attorney General’s Office had appealed a Cochise County judge’s ruling in a tax foreclosure case.

According to the article, Judge Jason Lindstrom of Cochise County Superior Court had issued a ruling in mid-2023 rejecting the attorney general’s argument that a 2016 judgment lien in favor of the state of Arizona against a property owner remained in place until satisfied. The lien was from a $26,463 judgment plus interest and fees the Arizona Registrar of Contractors had obtained against Curtis Lee Kuhn for a vacant 10-acre parcel north of Interstate 10 in Willcox.

However, Richard H. Williams had purchased tax liens on the property dating back to 2019 after Kuhn failed to pay property taxes from 2008 to 2018. Williams sought to foreclose on the liens after the requisite three-year waiting period had passed. The attorney general argued the 2016 ROC judgment took precedence over the tax liens.

Judge Lindstrom disagreed in his ruling, noting that state officials could have invoked a redemption right on the property since 2016 but failed to do so. As a result, he allowed Williams to foreclose on the tax liens and obtain ownership of the property.

In an appeal filed on December 27, 2023, the attorney general’s office argued the judge’s interpretation of tax lien law was “exactly backwards.” The opening brief stated there is an exception for liens or encumbrances held by the state, which the ROC judgment was. It also cited prior case law that a private holder of a tax lien cannot extinguish an equal or superior state lien through foreclosure.

The appeal seeks to reverse Lindstrom’s ruling and invalidate William’s claim to the property. A response from Williams is due by February 5th. The appellate process has put Lindstrom’s ruling on hold in the meantime. The disagreement centers around whether the state ROC judgment or Williams’ tax liens have precedence over the delinquent Willcox property.

 

Source: My Herald Review