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Supreme Court sides with woman after county sold her condo over tax bill, keeping all the money


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CBS News

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday in favor of a 94-year-old Minneapolis woman, giving her a new chance to recoup some money after her county kept the entire $40,000 when it sold her condominium over a small unpaid tax bill.

The justices ruled that Hennepin County in Minnesota violated the constitutional rights of the woman, Geraldine Tyler, by taking her property without paying "just compensation."

"The County had the power to sell Tyler's home to recover the unpaid property taxes. But it could not use the toehold of the tax debt to confiscate more property than was due," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court.

Tyler, who now lives in an apartment building for older people, owed $2,300 in unpaid taxes, plus interest and penalties totaling $15,000, when the county took the title to her one-bedroom apartment in 2015. The county said she did nothing to keep her residence and the apartment sold the next year.

Minnesota is among roughly a dozen states and the District of Columbia that allow local jurisdictions to keep the excess money from those types of transactions, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation, a not-for-profit public interest law firm focused on property rights that represented Tyler at the Supreme Court in Tyler v. Hennepin County, Minnesota.:snip:

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