BALTIMORE - A disabled Baltimore man is fighting for his family home after it was sold over unpaid property taxes.
Now, a legal battle is playing out to reclaim the house inherited from his father.
Tony Smothers is begging for help as he tries to keep the only home his family has ever known.
Baltimore City sold off the house to a company in Philadelphia for $12,000 of unpaid taxes in May of 2021," attorney Thiru Vignarajah said.
Surrounded by Smothers' neighbors on West Barre Street, Vignarajah declaredg a legal challenge to the city's tax sale system.
"Here we are some 50 years later, Tony Smothers, who along with his siblings, inherited this house from his father, is on the brink of having this house stripped away from him, ripped away from him through a foreclosure that followed a tax sale," Vignarajah said.
Smothers, a 61-year-old, already has plenty of experience facing challenges. He lives independently with cerebral palsy.
"My father bought this house for a $1 for me and my siblings in the hopes we would be living here forever," Smothers said.
The home was built and purchased by his father for $1 decades ago as part of the "dollar homes program."
"This is my home," Smothers said. "I love it here. I don't understand why this is happening."
Smothers, who works as a chef at Towson University, is heartbroken that the $200,000 family home was sold during an online auction for less than $80,000.
"If you take their house, because that is the method you use to make sure people pay their bills, that violates the takings clause of the 5th Amendment of the us constitution," Smothers said.
Vignarajah pledged to get the house back.
"Until the City of Baltimore understands what they are taking away, for the precious goal of getting a few more tax dollars, they do not understand the fabric they are ripping apart," Vignarajah said.
Vignarajah said it's a growing problem and that other residents in Baltimore have faced similar legal circumstances. Nonetheless, he promises to be victorious in Smothers' case.
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