Acting Atty. Gen. Peter Nickles
Acting Atty. Gen. Peter Nickles

A familiar villain rears its head again!

Back in September, a D.C. judge halted the city’s annual sale of tax liens on properties with delinquent payments. A Chicago based company named Aeon Financial LLC was demanding that all properties with delinquent payments—-instead of just ones owing the city’s minimum $1,200 and above—-head to the auction block.

Aeon ultimately failed. In late November and December, the sale finally took place. But in the meanwhile, the city apparently was putting together a suit of its own against Aeon.

This morning, the Washington Examiner broke the news Attorney General Peter Nickles had filed a suit against Aeon alleging the company had “‘engaged in a pattern of charging and collecting impermissible or excessive legal fees’ of nearly $6,000 per property, the District alleges in court documents. Those are costs that many homeowners ‘will falsely believe that they must pay.'”

Here’s an example of some of Aeon’s alleged, manipulative wrangling (again from the Examiner):

Jessica Tomback‘s Belt Road Northwest property was sold to Aeon at the Sept. 18, 2008, tax sale for $8,005, though she owed less than $1,500 in back taxes. On March 20, according to the lawsuit, Aeon served Tomback with notice that it had started foreclosure proceedings. Tomback paid her tax bill, but received a payoff statement in August demanding $4,750 in legal fees and $959.99 in costs.

“When it came in, I was floored,” Tomback, one of five aggrieved property owners named in the lawsuit, said Wednesday. “We can’t afford it, one, and it doesn’t seem fair. We thought, really, what could they have possibly done?”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery