Judge: Widow's Home Can Be Sold Over $6 Tax Bill

He upholds decision that saw $280K home auctioned off
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2014 3:08 AM CDT
Updated Apr 29, 2014 6:30 AM CDT
The home of Eileen Battisti is seen in her neighborhood in Aliquippa, Pa.    (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
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(Newser) – A Pennsylvania judge says he feels bad for a widow whose $280,000 home was sold at tax auction over an unpaid $6.30 bill, but he's not going to reverse the decision. Eileen Battisti had sought to reverse the 2011 sale of the home she still lives in, arguing that she hadn't received proper notifications about the sale or the $6.30 in late fees that led to it, the AP reports. The judge, however, found that there was no doubt that notification requirements had been met and she had "actual receipt" of the sale notification. "In tax assessment laws, even if I feel sorry for her, I can't do anything to help her," he explained after the ruling. "Everyone felt bad about it."

"It's bad—she had some hard times, I guess her husband kind of took care of a lot of that stuff," says the county's chief solicitor, who believes the judge got the decision right. The house was sold for $116,000 and Battisti will get most of that money if further appeals fail. The widow, who has continued to pay taxes on the property during the legal process, says she plans to fight the case until her dying day. "Yes, I had issues. I'm a widow. I'm raising three kids on my own, trying to put them through college," she tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Yes, it took me a while to get the bills, but I pay my bills. To steal a house for $6 is ludicrous." She says the man who bought the home at auction has told her she can buy it back—for $260,000.

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