Tax sale publicity generates $3.3M in back payments

Norwalk 007-2014-05-013
This garage, visible from Fera Park, is in the rear of a Butler Street property that is offered in Norwalk’s tax sale with a minimum bid of $21,524. It is owned by Stanley Selgison. The property is commercial and is not affected by the recently enacted blight ordinance.

NORWALK, Conn. – Money has been rolling in as publicity began for Norwalk’s next auction of properties for non-payment of taxes.

According to a Friday email from Norwalk Tax Collector Lisa Biagiarelli, “We are down to 126 properties (including 55 boat slips)  and up to $3.3 million collected as of May 30.”

She told NancyOnNorwalk this week that she expects only 12 to 20 properties would actually go up for auction.

As of Wednesday, May 7, there were 149 properties on the list for Norwalk’s sixth biennial tax sale, including 55 boat slips. There were 220 delinquent properties when letters first went out in November, she said. The total value of those delinquencies was $5.5 million; $2.6 million had been collected by May 7, she said.

Norwalk will sell tax-delinquent properties starting at 4 p.m. July 21 in Concert Hall, Biagiarelli said. Pictures of the properties were posted Monday in City Hall.


12 responses to “Tax sale publicity generates $3.3M in back payments”

  1. LWitherspoon

    Has Common Councilman and State Rep. Candidate David Watts paid his back taxes, interest, and sewer fees of more than $7000 yet? A portion of that delinquent bill stretches back to 2011.

    1. Mark Chapman


      As you yourself said on a previous thread, that info is available on the city website. You gave the answer yesterday. This is getting silly.

  2. LWitherspoon

    @Mark Chapman
    Sorry if you found my comment repetitive. Part of the reason for asking the question is that I wonder whether or not the information on the City web site is accurate and I’m hoping someone will chime in and tell me I’m wrong. It’s very hard to believe that a Common Councilman with delinquent tax bills dating back to 2011 would seek a ‘promotion’ to State Representative.
    It’s also worth examining the contradiction between Mr. Watts’s public positions and his behavior as a private citizen. As a Common Councilman, Mr. Watts has been a vocal advocate for any proposal that gives more tax dollars to municipal employee unions. He opposed a proposal to save money by outsourcing garbage collection because Unions didn’t like it. Who can forget that he donned a Local 2405 T-shirt at the meeting to discuss the proposal. At the same time that Mr. Watts was fighting to give more of our tax dollars to Unions, he hadn’t even paid his own property taxes! How much more fiscally irresponsible could one get?

  3. Oldtimer

    You sound like a true believer in the enormous savings talked about by advocates for privatization. Have you seen any evidence of any real savings ?
    Don’t forget the no-bid deal with City Carting for $273,000 for new compactors at Crescent St that Alvord seems to think can’t be repaired. You, or somebody representing the City, needs to see the actual bids and the subsequent invoices on that deal.

  4. One and Done.

    What I think L Witherspoon is implying here is why aren’t Watts’ properties on the tax sale list? Why is the tax collector allowed to arbitrarily pick what gets listed? Council members should not be above the law.

  5. Oldtimer

    There are specific standards for tax bills that result in listing at a tax sale and Watt’s tax bill does not meet those standards. He owes, but has paid enough to keep comfortably off the tax sale list. LWitherspoon must knows this, but has a special interest in seeing David Watts get tripped up somehow. His interest goes deep enough to get LWitherspoon to try hard to get folks to believe that Watts’s name should be on the tax sale list unless he is getting illegal special favors from the tax collector. Makes some of us wonder who is behind the LWitherspoon moniker and why he, or she, is so fervently opposed to councilman David Watts.

  6. One and Done.

    @Oldtimer. You wrote…”There are specific standards for tax bills that result in listing at a tax sale and Watt’s tax bill does not meet those standards. He owes, but has paid enough to keep comfortably off the tax sale list.”
    Please enlighten us. What exactly are the criteria here? Did Watts intentionally use this loop hole? What is the loop hole so that the rest of us can enjoy these same leveraging benefits?

    1. Mark Chapman

      @One and Done, Oldtimer

      As reported in our May 8 story:

      The criteria for inclusion in the sale are the same as in 2012:
      • $25,000 or more past due, regardless of time period
      • Property three or more years in arrears (regardless of dollar amount owed)
      • Property included in previous sale with no payments having been made since that time

      1. Mark Chapman

        We received this email from Tax Collector Lisa Biagiarelli, who has been checking out the comment on this thread:
        The city web site information concerning what is owed by David Watts is correct.
        His property was not included in this tax sale because it did not meet the criteria which was (as you have stated in previous stories and which has been reported for the last six months) three years or more in arrears OR $25,000 or more past due OR having been included in a prior tax sale with no substantial payments having been made since that time.
        If his property had met any of the criteria, it would have been included in the sale. Nobody gets ‘preferential treatment’ from the tax collector’s office. I did not tailor the criteria to suit his situation. It was the same criteria we used in the 2012 sale. It was designed to raise a certain amount of revenue and yet not have an unmanageable number of properties in the sale because again, we are doing the work in house.
        As for the legality of the sale and the comments about how somebody is going to sue the city because of the sale, etc., we have been sued in the past and the tax sale has been upheld. There are decades of court decisions upholding the legality of tax sales. The Connecticut General Assembly gives municipal tax collectors broad enforcement powers because they have determined that the public good that results from the public education system, which municipal taxes support, is important enough to grant municipal tax collectors strict enforcement powers in order to collect the money that funds it.

  7. Suzanne

    A better question would be why Stanley Seligson (and son) continue to get “passes” on letting properties deteriorate so shamefully. At least one property on Scribner owned by the Seligsons was given to the City of Norwalk to pay back taxes. Meantime, they keep on getting opportunities to develop no matter, in particular, the environmental consequences. My experience with them is they have the inside track with the City and any amount of neighborhood protest is ignored while properties, like that pictured above, turn blighted.

  8. LWitherspoon

    Thanks for the chuckle. You previously stated in a comment on this website that it would be a simple matter of picking up the phone and making a phone call to get a better deal than $273k for those new compactors. I challenged you to perform this ‘simple’ task, and all of a sudden you folded like a cheap suitcase. What a surprise. I wonder why. Perhaps because your statement was not supported by fact?
    With respect to savings from outsourcing garbage collection – Mayor Rilling stated during the campaign that he was skeptical about outsourcing in general and would closely examine the contract with City Carting to ensure that the City did in fact save money. I would suggest you direct your question about savings from outsourcing to the Mayor. Has he completed his review? What were the results? I’m just as interested as you are.
    During the debate over outsourcing garbage, Mr. Watts donned a Local 2405 T-shirt… at an official council meeting! So it’s clear that Mr. Watts’s top priority was not saving money – he was largely there to demonstrate his concern regarding the welfare of municipal employee unions. Such behavior is offensive to taxpayers who pay their taxes in full, particularly when the Common Councilman in question has unpaid tax bills stretching back to 2011!
    @One and Done, Oldtimer
    Nowhere did I state or even suggest that Mr. Watts’s home should be on the tax sale list. “One and Done” raised that question. I would just like to see the day when Mr. Watts pays his taxes in full and supports taxpayers rather than municipal employee unions. Until that day comes, I will continue to highlight what I feel is the hypocrisy of Mr. Watts fighting to give more tax dollars to Unions while at the same time failing to pay his own property taxes.

  9. LWitherspoon

    @Mark Chapman and Lisa Biagiarelli
    Thank you for the follow up.

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