Utica woman vowing to get her home back

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Sandra Wilkerson says she is not happy with the City of Utica.
She admits she got behind on her property taxes to the tune of about $10,000, but says all of a sudden on February 11th, she was mailed a letter stating the city now owned her property on Steuben St. and she was ordered to vacate the premises within 30 days.
Wilkerson immediately hired Utica attorney Mark Wolber.  Wolber argued Wilkerson's case in court earlier this month, but he says the judge ruled Wilkerson did not file her case within the mandated 30 days of her notice, so the city owned the property and her only option was to purchase it back.
Wilkerson says she had already paid the home off, but is now forced to buy back the property for about $22,000.
Wolber says Wilkerson never received the original notice that was mailed out by the city last August telling Wilkerson if she did not pay her taxes within 90 days, the city would indeed take over the property, "The notice that the city sent by Certified Mail was sent to the MqQuaid address which is the previous owner's address who had not owned the property for three years.  When she bought the property, she filed it in City Assessor's office so they had notice they had a change of address and a change of ownership."
Wolber says he would have liked to have seen the city help Wilkerson because this was all due to their mistake, "I understand that in most situations they can't make exceptions for hardship, In this case however, I think the City should have taken a closer look at this, and given the fact the city made a mistake and sent it to the wrong address, and based on their mistake I think the city should have voluntarily withdrawn this and given her a chance to redeem the property or deal with it in some way."
The Mayor's office referred us to the Comptroller's office, whose only statement on Friday was "The foreclosure was executed properly."
Wolber says if Wilkerson had received the original notice sent out last August she could have at least tried to make other arrangements, "There are other remedies she could have had.  For example, she could file a notice of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, and that wold have stopped the city from taking the property it would have allowed her to pay back the taxes over time, rather than all at once."

Wilkerson has been working with The Legal Aid Society of Utica to see if they will help her file an appeal. 

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