Wearing Us Down

This morning, properties behind on taxes went up for auction from the city. This is when properties with deliquent tax bills go to folks willing to pay the back taxes. If the owner doesn’t exercise their right of redemption, you get the property. A great opportunity if you’ve got some cash to sit for a little while. Jefferson Parish (next door to Orleans) had a similar process awhile back — where an inside connection gobbled up everything before the locals had a chance to bid. Orleans Parish pledged to do better, making an online process.

Paul and I registered at the website days ago. We checked out a few properties. This morning, Wonder Woman Hermanita Michelle came and took the kids to school so we could be ready for the 8am opener. We were. When we went to buy, the system did not recognize our payment source. Hmmmmm…..

I sent this note to them and cc:ed the News folks at the T-P, not that any of it means anything. I guess the good news is that someone is investing in the city — the bad news is that it’s the same old people profiting at the expense of others.

Dear New Orleans Tax Sales,

I would like to log a complaint to the “currently open tax sale” and officially request formal documentation of the auction process.

I attempted to buy several properties this morning, having registered myself and payment source several days ago. For some reason, when I attempted to buy these properties, the system refused to recognize my payment source. Whether deliberately manufactured or due to a process — one that was NOT outlined, described, or even suggested on the website — this “systems error” caused loss of auction to both myself and others. The phones to your office have also been unreachable all morning.

Therefore, I would like to know the formal process to protest this process, whom to contact and with what forms, as it arbitrarily denied my right to bid.

UPDATE: At around 8:30, the system magically recognized our payment source and we did purchase a lot on a street not far from the school. We feel certain that the city will say the system was so overwhelmed it randomly worked for some and not for others… but I’d be willing to bet that a search of new owners will not look so random…