The Michigan Supreme Court says local governments can't keep surplus cash from the sale of tax-foreclosed properties. It's a groundbreaking decision that could lead to waves of payments to former owners.
State law allowed county treasurers to keep money left over after overdue taxes finally are paid from a property sale. The Supreme Court said the practice is illegal under the Michigan Constitution.
The case centered on two sales in Oakland County. In one deal, a man's land was sold for $82,000. He owed $6,000 in back taxes but wasn't given the $76,000 surplus.