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Keep Your Keys: How to Seize Back Our Rights

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Detroit Beer Co.

1529 Broadway Street

3rd Floor

Detroit, MI 48226

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Network with professionals from across metro Detroit. Join the discussion with leading attorney Christina Martin about home equity theft.

About this Event

Have you ever miscalculated a bill? Typically, a late fee or a strongly worded warning follows. But do you know what happens if you miscalculate and underpay your property taxes—even just a few dollars? In at least 12 states – including Michigan - the government can (and does) seize your property, sell it, and leave you with nothing. Property taxes must be paid, and it’s legal for governments to seize your home to pay for outstanding debt. But the government shouldn’t keep any more money beyond what’s owed. The rest is your property: home equity that you’ve worked hard to build.

Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Christina Martin has brought two cases challenging this unfair practice in Michigan: Rafaeli v. Oakland County and Perez v. Wayne County. Uri Rafaeli owned a rental property in Oakland County, Michigan. He mistakenly underpaid his property taxes by $8.41. To cover the debt, the county sold the property at auction for $24,500 and kept every penny of the proceeds. The Perez family unknowingly underpaid their 2014 property taxes by $144. To settle that minor debt, Wayne County took the home and sold it for $108,000, keeping every penny from the sale. The Perez family lost all their equity in the property, while the county pocketed $107,498.55. On October 3, 2019 Christina Martin will argue Rafaeli v. Oakland County at the Michigan Supreme Court.

Join us at 6:00pm to meet and network with other young professionals from across Michigan. The remarks will begin at 6:30pm, with more networking to follow. As always, we'll have free food and your first drink is on us. For more information and to share with your friends and colleagues, please RSVP on our Facebook event.

Learn more about our keynote speaker here:

Christina Martin is an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation’s Florida office in Palm Beach Gardens. She fights to bring justice to her clients and set precedents that help protect individuals across the country from government overreach. Christina served as co-counsel and second-chair before the U.S. Supreme Court in Knick v. Township of Scott, a landmark case that opened the federal courthouse doors to federal constitutional takings claims and overturned a bad 34-year-old Supreme Court decision. She was also on the litigation team representing several family landowners, including Markle Interests, in another victorious Supreme Court case, Weyerhaeuser v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service, an 8-0 win for the property owners. Christina’s current practice focuses largely on ending unconstitutional taking of valuable homes and land as payment for relatively small property tax debts. She is lead counsel before the Michigan Supreme Court in one such case where her client’s entire rental home was taken as payment for an $8.41 tax debt. Her advocacy also led to a new law passed in Montana that will protect homes from such unconstitutional theft of equity. Under the new law, tax delinquent homes in Montana will be sold to the highest bidder, debts paid off, and the extra profits will be refunded to the former owner.

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Detroit Beer Co.

1529 Broadway Street

3rd Floor

Detroit, MI 48226

View Map

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