County settles with Bank of America
Thu, 05/11/2023 - 10:29am admin
Amanda Mendez, Publisher
Howell County has settled a legal dispute with Bank of America, N.A. over the surplus proceeds of property sold on the courthouse steps in 2014.
The pending suit Bank of America brought against the county was dismissed on April 25, and as such, entered the public record. Via a formal Sunshine Law request, Howell County News obtained the original complaint as well as the dismissal order. According to the complaint, the property in question was sold in the county’s tax sale for $11,051.38 more than was needed to pay the delinquent taxes owed. Bank of America alleges they were never notified of the sale.
Due to the closure of county offices for a holiday, records of the purchase were unavailable before press time.
It appears, however, that litigation began only recently. According to the case number assigned to this matter, it was the very first civil matter filed in the county this year. The docket entries are not open to the public to pinpoint a date.
On April 13, this matter was the subject of a closed session meeting of the Howell County Commission. It is now a matter of public record because it is disposed. The minutes of the closed session record a motion made by Southern Commissioner Billy Sexton, which passed unanimously.
In an interview on May 6, Commissioner Sexton told Howell County News the motion he made was to pay the amount requested by Bank of America. Sexton was in office at the time of the transaction, and he said he remembers attempts to notify the bank of the purchase, but a search of the county’s records did not produce any documentation that could prove it.
The settlement amount will be paid from the county’s overplus line item for tax sale proceeds, Northern Commissioner Calvin Wood said. In the intervening seven years, the original proceeds from the sale have been dispersed.