No. 26601 - Mingo County Redevolopment Authority v. James Green, Sr., single; James Green, Jr., single; Sidney Green, single; Alvin Green, single; Harvey Green,
single; Connie Green, single; and Patricia Green, single, Glen B. Gainer, III,
Auditor and Commissioner of Delinquent and Non-Entered Lands for the State of West Virginia, AND Stephen C. Sluss, Deputy Commissioner of
Delinquent and Non-Entered Lands for Mingo County, v. Maggie Harmon; Matewan Bank; Sheriff of Mingo County, West Virginia; State of West Virginia; and unknown heirs
Maynard, Chief Justice, dissenting:
I dissent because I believe the circuit court was correct in voiding the deed
granted by the Auditor and granting ownership of the property to the Redevelopment
The majority bases its decision on the fact that the Auditor complied with the
notice requirements of W.Va. Code § 11A-3-1, et seq., but disregards the fact that the
Redevelopment Authority properly exercised its authoritySee footnote 1
to acquire the property by
eminent domain. The record shows that the Redevopment Authority filed a condemnation
proceeding against the property on November 20, 1995 and named the State of West
Virginia in the complaint in an effort to discover any claim the State might have had on
the property. On September 15, 1997, the circuit court entered an order approving the
payment of $10,500 into court by the Redevelopment Authority and granting the
Redevelopment Authority immediate possession of the property.
The Redevelopment Authority was not required to pay the accumulated taxes
to the Auditor. The property of an authority is declared to be public property used for
essential public and governmental purposes and such property and an authority shall be
exempt from all taxes of the municipality, the county, the State or any political subdivision
thereof[.] W.Va. Code § 16-18-15(b) (1951). Also, no execution or other judicial
process shall issue against an authority's property. W.Va. Code § 16-18-15(a).
Therefore, after the Redevelopment Authority acquired the property in September 1997,
the property was exempt from taxation, subjection to a tax sale, or other judicial process.
Although the tax sale of the property occurred in April 1997, the deputy commissioner was
required, at that point, to submit a report to the Auditor who then approves the sale unless
he finds a sale not to be in the best interest of the state, in which case he will disapprove
of the sale. W.Va. Code § 11A-3-51 (1995). This tax sale process did not terminate until
the deputy commissioner conveyed the property to Maggie Harmon on October 1, 1997.
However, at that point, the Redevelopment Authority had acquired ownership of the
property. As a result, the deputy commissioner lacked the authority to convey the property
to another party.
For this reason, the circuit court was correct to grant ownership of the
property to the Redevopment Authority. Accordingly, I dissent.