LaReddola Lester & Associates, LLP
The Firm obtained a rare court victory that allowed its client to redeem a tax lien on a valuable commercial property after the issuance of a Treasurer’s Deed for the property to the tax lien purchaser. The Firm obtained a preliminary injunction in March 2016 to prevent its client’s eviction from the property during the pendency of the lawsuit challenging the Treasurer’s Deed. This allowed the Firm’s client to continue operating its gasoline service station and automobile repair business that it owned and operated at the property for over 25 years. Once discovery was complete, the Firm’s client and the Treasurer’s Deed holder each moved for summary judgment.
The Court’s decision focused on the many vagaries contained in the Nassau County Administrative Code (NCAC) sections concerning tax lien procedures. The Court stated: “Ironically, as a result of the thorough and well-researched legal arguments on both sides, the Court is left with more questions raised than answered.” The Court proceeded to posit 17 questions left unanswered by the NCAC in its tax lien statute. Thus, the Court decided that instead of “articulat[ing] new law on the novel facts of this case … the Court believes that it must be governed by principles of fairness and substantial justice.”
Based on these principles, the Court determined that the Firm’s client had the superior right to derive the profit from the equity in the property and the long-standing business operated at the property. The Court granted the Firm’s client’s motion to allow it to redeem the tax lien – even after issuance of the Treasurer’s Deed – within three months of the Court’s May 2017 order. As a result of the Court’s decision, the Firm’s client has redeemed the tax lien, and title to the property has been returned to the Firm’s client.