Purchaser Defeats City’s Attempt to Vacate Tax Deed to City-Owned Property

The subject property was sold for delinquent taxes. The city was served with notice of the tax deed proceeding, filed an objection and demanded its demolition lien be reimbursed before issuance of the tax deed. The city’s demolition lien was satisfied and a tax deed was issued to the tax buyer. About a year and a half later the tax buyer sold the property to our client and a another client issued a mortgage on the property. A few months later the city filed a petition to vacate the tax deed after discovering that it had actually owned the property via condemnation prior to the tax sale.

This city’s position was that the court lacked jurisdiction to enter the order directing issuance of the tax deed because the city owned the property. Our firm filed a motion to dismiss the city’s petition. One of the key arguments was that the bona fide purchaser and the bona fide mortgagee were protected by Section 2-1401(e) of the Code of Civil Procedure. Courts have consistently held that where a jurisdictional defect is not apparent on the face of the record at the time the rights of innocent third parties intervened, the petitioning party will be denied relief even from an otherwise void judgment or order . (citations omitted.) The court dismissed the petition in its entirety.

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