94-year-old-woman at the center of 5th amendment Supreme Court case

Geraldine Tyler argues Hennepin County stole $25,000 that’s rightfully hers
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 4:07 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - 94-year-old Geraldine Tyler owned a condo in Minneapolis.

Around 2010, she began falling short on property tax payments.  She racked up a bill of $2,300 dollars.  With interest fees and penalties, that debt quickly ballooned to $15,000.

“Hennepin County forecloses on her home,” explains David Deerson, who is representing Tyler, “They sell it to a third party for $40,000 and they keep every penny, even though that extra $25,000 was money, which they were not owed.”

Deerson says it’s a clear violation of the 5th Amendment.

“The government can’t take property for public purpose without just compensation.  Which means it has to pay you the fair market value of what the property is worth.”

But Hennepin County argues the onus falls on Geraldine Tyler.

In a statement, Assistant Administrator Dan Rogan says:

“The plaintiff chose to abandon her interests in the property rather than acting to protect any equity she might have had.  Hennepin County works very hard to help anyone who wants to avoid forfeiture.....Forfeiture is not a source of profit—factoring in all costs, Hennepin County’s program does not manage to break even.”

Deerson counters, the act preys on those who are already vulnerable.

“People who are victims of this kind of practice are exactly the people who are least likely to be able to have the means to fight back.”

The justices will hear oral arguments Wednesday

Their rulings are expected in June.