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The First Bank of Whiting v. 524, LLC

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 21, 2015

The First Bank of Whiting, as Trustee of Trust dated 12/30/86 a/k/a Trust No. 1865, Appellant,
v.
524, LLC, Appellee

Appeal from the Lake Circuit Court. Cause No. 45C01-1207-MI-118. The Honorable George Paras, Judge. The Honorable Robert C. Vann, Magistrate.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: Megan L. Craig, John R. Craig, Craig, Craig & Marco, LLC, Crown Point, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Patrick A. Schuster, David E. Braatz, Patrick A. Shuster & Associates, Crown Point, Indiana.

Friedlander, Judge. Baker, J., and Najam, J., concur.

OPINION

Friedlander, Judge.

[¶1] On August 27, 2012, 524 LLC (524) purchased two parcels of real property (the Parcels) in Lake County, Indiana at a tax sale. After the time for redemption expired on August 27, 2013, 524 filed a Petition for Issuance of Deed. The First Bank of Whiting (the Trustee), as Trustee of Trust Dated 12/30/86 a/k/a Trust No. 1865 (the Trust), filed an objection to 524's petition. The Trust appeals the granting of 524's petition and the entry of 7/17/2015 Order Directing the Auditor of Lake County, Indiana to issue Tax Deed with respect to the Parcels. The following issues are presented for review:

1. Did the tax sale notices substantially comply with the requirements of Ind. Code Ann. § 6-1.1-24-4,[1] I.C. § 6-1.1-25-4.5,[2] and I.C. § 6-1.1-25-4.6?[3]
2. Was the trial court's order to issue tax deeds untimely?

[¶2] We affirm.

[¶3] The facts are that in 1987, ownership of the Parcels was transferred to the First Bank of Whiting as trustee of the Trust, which owned the Parcels in favor of Susan Farruggio, who was the designated beneficiary of the Trust. It appears that the Trust was created by Farruggio's father, John Baber. On July 3, 1990, an address change for the Trust was entered in the Lake County Auditor's Property Records. The new address was: " First Bank of Whiting as Trustee of Trust 1865, C/O SSAY Corp. 2135 Westchester, Westchester, IL 60154" . Transcript at 183. 2135 Westchester Boulevard, Westchester, IL 60154 was John Baber's home address.

[¶4] The Parcels were scheduled to be sold at a tax sale on August 27, 2012. The auditor's pre-sale notices pursuant to I.C. § 6-1.1-24-4 (Section 4 notice) were mailed via certified mail to the First Bank of Whiting as Trustee at 2135 Westchester Blvd., Westchester, IL 60154. A signed receipt reflects that the notices were received at 1:15 p.m. on July 9, 2012 by Mike Othman at that address. The Parcels were sold on August 27 to 524, which was the high bidder for both Parcels. At the time of sale, as had been the case since 1987, the Trust was the owner of record of both Parcels, and the address of record in the Lake County Auditor's Office for the Trust was: " The First Bk of Whiting TR TR 1865[,] 2135 Westchester C/O SSAY CORP[,] WESTCHESTER, IL 60154" . Exhibit Volume, Exhibit 4.

[¶5] Following the sale, notices of the right of redemption pursuant to I.C. § 6-1.1-25-4.5 (Section 4.5 notice) were mailed via certified mail to the following addresses:

The First Bank of Whiting as Trustee of
Trust dtd 12/30/86 a/k/a Trust No. 1865
Attn: Highest Ranking Officer
2135 Westchester
Westchester, IL 60154
The First Bank of Whiting as Trustee of
Trust dtd 12/30/86 a/k/a Trust ...

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