More of your tax dollars at work in Raleigh, North Carolina –
Kristin Wallace bought some very wet land as an investment. Eight acres of it, all underneath Lake Lynn.The Cary woman bought the land for $12,500 last year at a public auction of property with delinquent taxes. Now she is suing to try to force the city of Raleigh or Wake County to buy the soggy land from her or drain it.
“It’s extremely valuable to me,” Wallace said, “dry.”
City and county officials say Wallace, who started investing in real estate less than two years ago, knew the land was lake bottom when she bought it, something she doesn’t dispute.
“It’s bought as is,” said Shelley Eason with the County Attorney’s Office.
Obviously, the immediate response from most rational people will be, “this woman is an idiot.” And that’s probably an accurate description. But let’s take a look at how she was able to purchase the land (which the county intentionally flooded in 1976) in the first place-
In 1983, the 8 acres were bought by now-defunct Lake Lynn Development, which owned surrounding dry land that would become homes and apartments.
Lake Lynn Development eventually went out of business. In 2006 the county revenue department noticed that yearly property tax bills of $9 to $35 a year had gone unpaid for more than a decade on the two parcels, one of 6.68 acres in the middle of the lake and a 1.32-acre inlet, Eason said.
More as a housekeeping effort than anything else, the county decided to get rid of the property and put it up for auction in September 2006 as required by law to try to recoup unpaid taxes. Expecting no bids, government officials thought the land would be transferred to the city, which would pay off the back taxes.
Neither the city nor the county envisioned someone’s bidding for the water-logged land, Eason said.
So, if we assume for a moment that the $35 annual property tax was a legitimate claim (which it isn’t, but that’s not the point here), the county was “owed” around $350. They sold the land for $12,500. That’s already a huge profit on what is, essentially, stolen land. Of course, even when they win the lawsuit (which they will as they have pre-existing easements on the property) they’ll have wasted far more than $12,000 in dealing with the lawsuit.
The anarchist’s solution? Since there would be no government to steal the land from the rightful owner it would have been sold as part of Lake Lynn Development’s corporate divestiture. Whomever bought it then would have full rights and responsibilities to the land which they could drain or flood as they saw fit and there would be no one around for the owners to sue at that point.