Judge rescues home from tax sale

Tax collector faulted for improperly serving notice

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Editor's note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss' "Best of" collection first appeared Sunday, July 16, 2006. For more than 30 years, Gary Kent Jones owned the house at 717 North Bryan St. in Little Rock, Ark. He lived there with his wife until they separated in 1993. Jones then moved to a nearby apartment. His wife and daughter continued living in the house. Until 1997 when Jones made the final payment on his 30-year mortgage, the mortgage lender paid the property taxes to the local tax collector. But because Jones failed to notify the tax collector of his new address, the property taxes went unpaid since 1997. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. In April 2000, the state lands commissioner sent Jones a certified mail notice the house would be sold in 24 months in 2002 if he didn't pay the delinquent property taxes. But Jones never received that notice, which was returned to the tax collector marked "unclaimed." Two years later, just be...