Having worked with distressed real estate for the last umpteen years, I thought something looked a little strange in this Strib article about Kim Bartmann's (owner of Bryant-Lake Bowl, Barbette and Red Stag Supperclub) unpaid taxes. I sent the link to a tax lawyer who's also a real estate investor and he had this to say:
Interesting story in that the Feds cannot "seize" the home of a taxpayer for unpaid tax debts unless the home is not homestead property; the Feds then foreclose the lien in state court, and the owner does not redeem from the sale. The Feds would take subject to senior mortgages, etc. The Star Tribune has no idea what they are talking about.
I suppose one could just go down to the Court and examine the complaint filed to confirm the information (presumably done by the Strib reporter), but even then it's pretty difficult to decipher exactly what's going on when you're dealing with tax codes and property foreclosure, especially when it's being done by the government.
A person's home being seized isn't a topic to be reported on without professional advisement, even if that person is an important local figure. Chefs and restauranteurs are the tipsters' favorite new topic; a little gloomy press starts the rumor mill cranking and, pretty soon, like a game of telephone, I'll start getting emails asking if Barbette is closing. I'll venture to say that, in a time when preserving our precious local dining scene is critical, it's best to keep the slow news day material to cheerier stories.
Agree, disagree? Even if a story like this is 100% factual, is it really news? Moreover, shouldn't we be focusing intently on the positive right now?