Widow loses her home over $6.30 debt she didn't know about after husband's death
Last week, a Pennsylvania judge turned down a widow's request to reverse her home's sale over the $6.30 she still owed in tax interest.
Eileen Battisti's house in Aliquippa was sold at tax auction in 2011, and she has since been fighting to remain in the western Pennsylvania home.
However, Beaver County Common Pleas Judge Gus Kwidis ruled that Battisti had ample time and notice to pay her debt before the $280,000 home was sold. In his decision, he wrote that the Beaver County Assessment Office-Tax Claim Bureau followed state guidelines in informing her of the impending sale.
"There is no doubt that [she] had actual receipt of the notification of the tax upset sale on July 7, 2011, and Aug. 16, 2011," Judge Kwidis wrote.
"Moreover, on Aug. 12, 2011, a notice of sale was sent by first class mail and was not returned."
At the time of the auction, Battisti owed $235 in interest and fees, and paid $228.70.
She maintained that she thought her debt was paid.
"I paid everything, and didn't know about the $6.30," she told Fox News. "For the house to be sold just because of $6.30 is crazy."
Battisti also told reporters that her husband, who passed away in 2004, was the one who handled the property taxes.
Beaver County Chief Solicitor Joe Askar said that the whole situation is unfortunate.
"It's bad— she had some hard times, I guess her husband kind of took care of a lot of that stuff," Askar told Fox News.
"It seemed that she was having a hard time coping with the loss of her husband— that just made it set in a little more."
Askar also said, however, that Judge Kwidis' decision was correct under the law.
"The county never wants to see anybody lose their home, but at the same time the tax sale law, the tax real estate law, doesn't give a whole lot of room for error, either," he said.
Battisti, who still lives in the home, plans to appeal the ruling.