Court abused discretion in finding Marion County in contempt of orders setting aside tax sale

To access case, press here

This case arises out of a church’s failure to apply for a property tax exemption for several years and the Marion County Treasurer’s and the Marion County Auditor’s (“Marion County”) repeated attempts to place the property on its tax sale list to collect the resulting delinquent taxes and fees. After Marion County sold a parcel of land owned by Revival Temple Apostolic Church (“Revival Temple”) in a tax sale in 2005, Revival Temple repurchased the property with funds borrowed from Huntington National Bank (“Huntington Bank”). After the trial court granted a motion to set aside the tax sale in 2006, Marion County refused to refund the full repurchase price. Huntington Bank filed a contempt action against the county, alleging that Marion County willfully violated orders issued by the trial court in 2003 and 2004 that deemed the property ineligible for tax sale and willfully violated the trial court’s 2006 order setting aside the tax sale by refusing to refund the repurchase price. The trial court found Marion County in contempt of all three orders, ordered it to refund the entire repurchase price, prohibited the county from placing the property on the tax sale list during future years, and awarded Huntington Bank attorneys’ fees and costs. On appeal, Marion County argues the trial court abused its discretion in finding it in contempt of the 2003 and 2004 orders because the orders did not unambiguously prohibit it from placing the property on the tax sale list in the future. Marion County also argues that the trial court abused its discretion in finding it in contempt of the 2006 order because the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to order the refund of property taxes already paid. Finally, Marion County argues that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to prohibit it from placing Revival Temple’s property on the Marion County tax sale list in all future years.

Conclusion
(slip op. at 17): The trial court abused its discretion in finding Marion County in contempt of the 2003, 2004, and 2006 orders. Further, the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to prohibit Marion County from placing Revival Temple’s property on the Marion County tax sale list in future years. Finally, because we reverse each of the trial court’s contempt findings, we reverse the award of attorneys’ fees and costs to Huntington Bank. Reversed.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s