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In re Application of County Treasurer

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

November 1, 2017

In re APPLICATION OF THE COUNTY TREASURER AND ex officio COUNTY COLLECTOR OF WARREN COUNTY, ILLINOIS, for Judgment and Order for Sale Against Lands and Lots on Which General Taxes for Each of Two or More Years Remain Due and Unpaid (Charles Wrenn, d/b/a C & S Investments, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
Kathy Tate, in Her Official Capacity as Warren County Treasurer, Respondent-Appellee).

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit Circuit No. 15-TX-8, Warren County, Illinois. The Honorable James R. Standard, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Carter concurred in the judgment and opinion. Presiding Justice Holdridge specially concurred, with opinion.

          OPINION

          LYTTON JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Petitioner, Charles Wrenn, d/b/a C & S Investments, purchased the property taxes for property located in the Village of Kirkwood in Warren County. After the redemption period expired, Wrenn filed a petition for a tax deed for the property, which the trial court granted. More than four months after Wrenn obtained and recorded his deed to the property, he filed a motion for sale in error. Kathy Tate, in her official capacity as Warren County Treasurer, filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted. Wrenn appeals the dismissal of his motion for sale in error. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 In October 2012, petitioner, Charles Wrenn, d/b/a C & S Investments, purchased the 2011 property taxes for PIN 13-302-004-00, the legal description of which is "Lots 5 & 6 in Block 2 of the original town plat of the Village of Kirkwood, Warren County, Illinois" (subject property). As a result of the purchase, Wrenn received Tax Sale Certificate of Purchase Number 00181. Wrenn extended the redemption period to October 22, 2015.

         ¶ 4 Another entity, H & G Construction, purchased the 2012 and 2013 property taxes for the subject property. In April 2015, Wrenn filed a petition for tax deed for the subject property. On October 26, 2015, the circuit court entered an order directing the Warren County clerk to issue Wrenn a tax deed for the property. On October 27, 2015, Wrenn redeemed the taxes purchased by H & G Construction in the amount of $1163.43. On October 29, 2015, the Warren County clerk issued a tax deed to Wrenn for the property, which Wrenn recorded the same day.

         ¶ 5 On March 14, 2016, Wrenn filed a motion for sale in error. The motion asserted that "there has been substantial destruction to the property and the property is uninhabitable and continues to deteriorate" and requested that the court declare the sale to be a "sale in error."

         ¶ 6 Respondent filed a motion to dismiss Wrenn's motion for sale in error, arguing that Wrenn could not obtain a sale in error because he had already obtained and recorded the tax deed for the property. The trial court granted respondent's motion to dismiss.

         ¶ 7 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 8 A sale in error is a statutory action arising under section 21-310 of the Property Tax Code (Tax Code) (35 ILCS 200/21-310 (West 2014)). Bueker v. Madison County, 2016 IL App (5th) 150282, ¶ 50. "The claimant seeking a sale in error is generally asking the circuit court to undo the sale of a specific parcel's taxes for an enumerated reason." Id. Section 21-310 of the Tax Code "delineates who may apply for a sale in error, where and on what grounds the application must be made, when these grounds must occur, and the county collector's responsibilities in the event a sale in error is declared by the court." In re Petition for Declaration of Sale in Error, 256 Ill.App.3d 159, 162 (1994). The Tax Code's enumerated grounds for sales in error are exclusive. Id. at 166.

         ¶ 9 Section 21-310 of the Tax Code states in pertinent part:

"(a) When, upon application of the county collector, the owner of the certificate of purchase, or a municipality which owns or has owned the property ordered sold, it appears to the satisfaction of the court which ordered the property sold that any of the following subsections ...

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