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Hancock v. Darco

September 26, 2001

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF THE COUNTY COLLECTOR FOR JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF SALE AGAINST LANDS AND LOTS RETURNED DELINQUENT FOR NONPAYMENT OF GENERAL TAXES FOR THE YEARS 1995 AND PRIOR YEARS,
PETITION OF MARY H. HANCOCK, PETITIONER-APPELLEE
v.
DARCO, INC., PROTESTOR-APPELLANT



Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County Nos. 95TX037/131; 95TX037/130 Honorable Thomas R. Appleton, Judge Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook

Released for publication October 30, 2001.

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF THE COUNTY COLLECTOR FOR JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF SALE AGAINST LANDS AND LOTS RETURNED DELINQUENT FOR NONPAYMENT OF GENERAL TAXES FOR THE YEARS 1995 AND PRIOR YEARS,
PETITION OF MARY H. HANCOCK, PETITIONER-APPELLEE
v.
DARCO, INC., PROTESTOR-APPELLANT

Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County Nos. 95TX037/131; 95TX037/130 Honorable Thomas R. Appleton, Judge Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook

PUBLISHED

 Protestor, DARCO, Inc. (DARCO), owns two properties in Sangamon County. Petitioner, Mary Hancock, purchased those properties at a tax sale. DARCO redeemed the properties under protest and now appeals the orders of the circuit court refusing to refund any of DARCO's redemption monies, even after sustaining DARCO's protests and denying Hancock's petitions for tax deeds. We allow Hancock's motion to consolidate the appeals.

Hancock's two May 1999 petitions for tax deeds alleged the following. At an annual tax sale on November 21, 1996, Hancock purchased 635 North Wesley in Springfield, Illinois, for $281.78 and 3000 South 11th Street in Springfield, Illinois, for $288.81. These properties had not been redeemed, and the redemption periods would expire on August 25, 1999. All notices required by law had been or will have been given prior to the entry of orders directing the issuance of tax deeds.

In August 1999, DARCO filed two redemptions under protest, depositing with the county clerk $1,721.80 for 635 North Wesley and $1,800.98 for 3000 South 11th Street. DARCO protested on several grounds, including the following: Hancock failed to (1) serve a "Take Notice" within five months of the November 21, 1996, sale (see 35 ILCS 200/22-5 (West 1994)); (2) serve a "Take Notice" prior to three months before the August 21, 1999, expiration of the redemption period (see 35 ILCS 200/22-10 (West 1994)); and (3) publish a notice of filing of a petition for tax deed prior to three months before the August 21, 1999, expiration of the redemption period (see 35 ILCS 200/22-30 (West 1994)). DARCO attached to its protest a statement from the Copley Press, Inc., certifying that it published Hancock's notice on May 25, 26, and 27 in 1999. The record before us indicates that Margot Riseman, DARCO's president, was not personally served until June 28, 1999.

In summary, Hancock paid the county collector $281.78 and $288.81, the amounts she bid at the tax sale, for the two parcels. Hancock also paid taxes posted after the tax sale. DARCO paid the county clerk $1,721.80 and $1,800.98 to redeem the two parcels.

On November 2, 1999, the trial court made docket entries finding that the sales had been in error. See 35 ILCS 200/21-380 (West 1994) (if the court sustains the protest in whole or in part the court may declare the sale to be a sale in error). The court further found that both the publication and the actual service of the notices fell outside the statutory period. The trial court directed the county clerk to make the "appropriate" refunds. On November 5, 1999, DARCO and Hancock filed written arguments, with Hancock arguing that a finding of an erroneous sale would leave the taxes unpaid as DARCO and Hancock would each receive refunds.

On May 15, 2000, the trial court held a hearing and denied DARCO's motions for refunds of its redemption monies. On June 1, 2000, DARCO filed objections to Hancock's proposed orders. The trial court entered orders on June 2, 2000, denying Hancock's petitions for tax deeds and again denying DARCO's motions for refunds of its redemption monies. The trial court found that the tax sales were valid, DARCO's redemptions were valid, and Hancock failed to meet statutory requirements for issuance of a tax deed. The trial court directed the county clerk in each case to "distribute the [r]edemption [m]oney in the customary manner." By docket entries, the trial court noted that Hancock made a bona fide attempt to comply with statutory procedures for issuance of a tax deed. The trial court refused to refund the redemption monies to DARCO because a refund of all the redemption monies would either leave the county with unpaid taxes or force Hancock to pay DARCO's taxes, depending on whether Hancock receives a refund as well. DARCO filed notices of appeal on June 27, 2000, from the June 2, 2000, orders.

It could be argued that we lack jurisdiction to consider this appeal because the notice of appeal was not filed within 30 days of the final order, which was arguably entered November 2, 1999. Nevertheless, the parties revested the trial court with jurisdiction by actively participating in further proceedings after November 2, 1999, without objecting to jurisdiction. See In re Marriage of Lange, 307 Ill. App. 3d 303, 309, 717 N.E.2d 507, 511 (1999).

DARCO argues that the trial court erred in not ordering any refund of its redemption monies after the trial ...


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