Attorneys seeking more property owners in foreclosure lawsuit

CHARLEVOIX –Attorneys suing several Michigan counties over tax foreclosures will have more time to identify property owners who could join the lawsuit.

But, first, 33rd Circuit Court Judge Roy Hayes III will hear a motion as to whether certain county officials should be removed the suit.

The Hemlock-based law firm Outside Legal Counsel is representing clients in 10 lawsuits in different regions of Michigan. The lawsuits allege it’s illegal for counties to sell tax-foreclosed property for more than the tax that is owed.

A total of 80 of the state’s 83 counties are being sued, including Alpena, Presque Isle, Montmorency and Alcona counties.

The case being heard in Charlevoix County Circuit Court names 10 counties from the “Tip of the Mitt” region, including Presque Isle County.

In that case, on Friday Hayes extended several deadlines for attorneys to certify class-action status, giving attorneys more time to identify potential property owners who could join the lawsuits, according to Philip Ellison, an attorney with Outside Legal Counsel.

The judge said he wanted to hear more information on whether county officials should be removed from portions of the lawsuit. Even if that happened, the rest of the lawsuit would proceed.

Presque Isle County is being represented by Charles Lawler from the Lansing-based firm Clark Hill. Lawler couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

Alpena, Alcona and Montmorency are being sued separately in the “Jack Pine Region.”

For more information on the tax foreclosure lawsuits, vist www.michigantf.com.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.