left us a voice mail message this afternoon explaining that the warrants were issued based on his failure to appear for a hearing last fall on a code enforcement violation and, contrary to the ABC affiliate's report, had nothing to do with back taxes.
"They [Cleveland officials] can't snap their fingers and make me fly to Cleveland," he says. "They're idiots, and frankly, their behavior is criminal. They can't arrest me because there's chipped paint."
We'll update if any additional information is made available.
———————————ORIGINAL POST 11:25 A.M. TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 2015———————————————-
The ABC affiliate in Cleveland
is reporting that a so-called "housing court" in Cleveland has issued a warrant for the arrest of Douglas Bruce
for failing to pay $21,000
in property taxes on three homes he owns there.
Bruce: In trouble again, reportedly, over his property ownership.
The station reports on its website that one home is in the ward represented by Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli
. "It's not right that an out-of-town owner would buy property in our city and then refuse to pay property taxes," Brancatelli told the station. "How would he like it if we did that in his city? Taxpayers are left to pay to have his condemned properties boarded-up, and have the lawns cut."
Bruce called the warrant "preposterous."
"It’s got to be a joke by some buffoon," he says. "You don’t arrest people for not paying property taxes, right? I have filed an appeal of the assessed value of the properties. How does a housing court arrest people on tax issues? Are they the tax collector? It’s beyond odd. It’s preposterous."
It's only the latest problem for Bruce, who's under review for compliance with his terms of probation after his 2012 conviction on tax evasion charges, which he is appealing. The probation office in Denver alleges Bruce has failed to report various financial dealings within the required amount of time, including the transfer of his late mom's condo to City Councilor Helen Collins
, which has resulted in an ethics complaint
filed against Collins by the City Attorney's Office. Read more about that here.
We agree with Bruce that it sounds fishy that a judge would issue an arrest warrant for non-payment of taxes, so we asked El Paso County Treasurer Mark Lowderman
what the law is in Colorado.
"In Colorado properties with unpaid taxes go through the Treasurer’s annual Tax Sale," he says via email. "It occurs each October and investors pay the delinquent taxes, and then have a lien on the property. The investor can pay subsequent years unpaid taxes, and after 3 years, they can apply for title. Not many folks are in it to get the property though. They participate for the interest on their money, which is presently 10%."