Otsego County illegally foreclosed on our Farm back in 2014. They broken their own laws. We were not given a fair trial in the County Court so we are fighting back. More info: http://bit.ly/1NUf5PR
Save The Force Farm
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about why we, Donna and I, are asking for help to save the Force Farm.
We have been fighting the bureaucracy in Otsego County, NY since 2014, when the County Treasurer illegally foreclosed on our Farm. We are now taking our case to Federal Court because we did not get fair trial in the County Court system.
Our funding goal is $50,000 to help cover federal court case legal fees. When we win our case, and we will, we plan to return all monies from this funding drive into a Property Rights fund to help defray legal expenses for others fighting this fight.
Brief History: In 1986 Donna and I bought 96 acres of land in Gilbertsville. First thing we did was put a trailer on the property so we would have a place to spend our honeymoon. In the early 1990's we added another parcel of 14 acres to the Farm. Over the years the Force Farm was our retreat. We cleared the land to build a barn, renovated the farmhouse and planted a grove pine trees just above the trailer. In 2010 our sister-in-law transferred the final parcel, a quarter acre of land, to us to complete our ownership of 111 acres of land. The property was a place of many happy memories as our family spent many weekends there with friends and raising our daughter.
Otsego County, NY Land Grab: On July 15, 2014. Donna called the County Treasurers office to make payment on both 2011 and 2013 taxes only to find out that the property was on the auction block for August 20th, 2014. In January 2013 County commenced instant proceedings seeking foreclosure on their property for non-payment of taxes relative to year 2011 - almost 6 months before the final due date. Donna had made a mistake thinking the payment due date was July 30th, not June 30th. Please note the tax year for Otsego County runs from July 1st to June 30. I, who was recovering from my 2nd knee replacement surgery in June, tried to resolve this issue, but was told we had no alternative because when the County puts a property on the Auction block, it was a done deal. We retained a lawyer who put a stay on the deed while we fought to regain our property.
The County stated (on several occasions) it takes 4 consecutive years of back taxes and 5 years in order to foreclose on a piece of property. Additionally, the County has several resolutions on file that state they, the County, MUST make all attempts and allow property owners to pay their tax bill up to the date of the Auction. County Resolution No 26 of 1981 and Resolution No 234 of 1985 states any parcel of land acquired by the County for delinquent taxes may be redeemed by its former owner by paying to the Treasurer the total amount of the taxes including interest, penalties and other costs. The County refused to follow their own laws, foreclosed and sold the Force Farm property at auction within 51 days after foreclosing on a property owing only 2 years back taxes.
The Forces Fight Back: Since 2014 we have fought to regain our property. We retained our first lawyer, the former Otsego County Attorney, in July 2014. He put a stay on the deed to prevent the Farm from being sold. The County demanded we put $21,983 in escrow for insurance due of the stay on the convenience of the deed. The County took our money but did NOT abide by the stay; they sold the property at auction in August 2014. Our first lawyer passed in 2015 and a new lawyer took over the firm. The new lawyer ignored our case; leaving the Farm in limbo. We then retained a Long Island lawyer, a former NYC and Federal prosecutor, who is currently handling our case.
Focus on County Policies: The problem is Otsego County Treasurer’s office and County Board members have NOT been following the County laws. Otsego County has been using aggressive foreclosure methods to steal properties from residents with the excuse they owe back taxes. These properties have been put onto the auction block and sold to the highest bidder. The County has REFUSED to accept past due tax payments from many property owners prior to the auction date.
There are cases where the County allows some people to pay their taxes late and have also committed fraud by accepting monies from late taxpayers. We have proof where the County has accepted payment from a property owner who paid their taxes two weeks before the auction on 8/3/15. This is well after the final June 30th due date. We also have proof of a person who paid their taxes on July 1st and their tax receipt is date stamped June 30th. Then again, the County sold a parcel at auction and then reversed the sale, with a Board Resolution, six months later when the original owner came forward demanding his parcel. Even though this parcel was foreclosed on two times, the County redeemed the parcel to the original owner. That owner only had to pay 10 years of back taxes. Otsego County plays by their own rules, not their laws.
Since when did the rights of buyers at an auction become more important than the rights of the property owner? More important when did the Treasurer and the County Board become the judge and jury to change County Resolution and County laws that allow you to pay your taxes up to the day of the auction?
This is why we asking for your help to assist us to not only get back our home, but to bring light to the illegal actions of the Otsego County Treasurer and County Board members.
Social Media links about the Force Farm:
· Facebook: http://bit.ly/1MzYLmN.
· County Board 7/15 meeting: http://bit.ly/1SMaXhm
· Rally in 12/25: https://youtu.be/4SrCAT0sq8U
Thank you for taking the time to see what has happened to our farm. We do hope you will consider making a donation to help us in this fight.
Robert & Donna Force Save The Force Farm
Contact: Robert Force Phone: 631-767-8587 Email: SaveTheForceFarm@gmail.com Twitter: @SaveForceFarm
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