Left With Nothing


Left With Nothing

On the day Bennie Coleman lost his house, the day armed U.S. marshals came to his door and ordered him off the property, he slumped in a folding chair across the street and watched the vestiges of his 76 years hauled to the curb.

Movers carted out his easy chair, his clothes, his television. Next came the things that were closest to his heart: his Marine Corps medals and photographs of his dead wife, Martha. The duplex in Northeast Washington that Coleman bought with cash two decades earlier was emptied and shuttered. By sundown, he had nowhere to go.

All because he didn’t pay a $134 property tax bill.

The retired Marine sergeant lost his house on that summer day two years ago through a tax lien sale — an obscure program run by D.C. government that enlists private investors to help the city recover unpaid taxes.

For decades, the District placed liens on properties when homeowners failed to pay their bills, then sold those liens at public auctions to mom-and-pop investors who drew a profit by charging owners interest on top of the tax debt until the money was repaid.

But under the watch of local leaders, the program has morphed into a predatory system of debt collection for well-financed, out-of-town companies that turned $500 delinquencies into $5,000 debts — then foreclosed on homes when families couldn’t pay, a Washington Post investigation found.

Rest here…



5 Responses to “Left With Nothing”
  1. Please sign my petition if you are a Washington State registered voter.

    Please pass on to friends, relatives advocates you know in the Washington State area.


    Bill SB 1435 is unconstitutional and in general allows stolen property
    to be sold by thieves.

    That’s why I created a petition to The Washington State Senate and
    Governor Jay Inslee.

    Will you sign this petition? Click here:



  2. Fury says:

    so sad. fraudclosure must be stopped.
    bottom feeders making money off of stealing homes must be stopped.
    stand up for yourself and your neighbors who are being terrorized by these bandits!

  3. neidermeyer says:

    The real problem here is that the tax certificate buyers are somehow allowed to pad the bill with “fees and expenses” , I have bought certificates and foreclosed (empty land) here in Florida ,,, to redeem the delinquent property owner just needs to pay the back taxes , the interest (capped at 18%) and the foreclosure expenses (typically $400) … foreclosing on a tax deed doesn’t require a lawyer or the associated fees , the county clerk will file it for you and notify the affected parties (owner and all owners of touching properties) …. this old man should have burned it down.

  4. BOBBI SWANN says:

    This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what is happening to this country. Where in the world can someone say that our current president is or has done anything of a positive nature for the people, other than the very wealthy from which he is being dictated. I could blame the son for not coming to his father’s rescue and for that he will himself have to live with but it is the government who is allowing this to continue, both state and federal. As I said, this is but just the tip – wait until the full brunt of the iceberg hits this country with full force. Sheeples….wake up!

  5. And no one bothered to help him and all the monies will NEVER repair the emotional and financial damage. Where were the kaw makers? All claiming civil matter! Not my job?

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