Code violation fine on property valued at less than $20,000 adds up to more than $1 million

Posted 4/7/21

OKEECHOBEE – What happens when a $25 per day code enforcement fine adds up to more than $1 million on a property valued at less than $20,000?

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Code violation fine on property valued at less than $20,000 adds up to more than $1 million

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OKEECHOBEE – What happens when a $25 per day code enforcement fine adds up to more than $1 million on a property valued at less than $20,000?

At their April 8 meeting, Okeechobee County Commissioners will be asked to reduce code enforcement fines on properties. Some of the properties were acquired by new owners.

In 2018, Okeechobee County Commissioners instituted a Code Enforcement Lien Amnesty Program by which persons whose property is subject to an Okeechobee County code enforcement lien may obtain a reduction of the fine and a release of the lien, if the property is found to be in compliance with all Okeechobee County codes and ordinances. The original amnesty program ended in January 2019.

Six requests for reduction in code enforcement fines are on the agenda for the April 8 meeting of the Okeechobee County Commission.

• The Special Magistrate has recommended a fine reduction for the 18830 N.W. 301nd Street property owned by Robert W. Skinner from $69,375 to $2,500. On Jan, 18, 2017, an administrative fine was assessed against Skinner, in the amount of $75 per day for a code violation. Skinner requested reduction of a lien at a hearing before the Special Magistrate who heard testimony under oath of Code Enforcement Officer Beth Albert and testimony from related to case. At the conclusion of the presentation of case, both parties agreed a reduction in the amount of the accrued fine and lien was in the best interest of the county.

• The Special Magistrate has recommended the county reduce the lien on the 3252 N.W. First Street property owned by Joaquin Dominguez  from $4,400.00 to $1,500. On Sept. 17, 2019, an administrative fine was assessed against Dominguez in the amount of $30 per day for a code violation.

• The Special Magistrate has recommended the county reduce the lien on 965 NE 64th Avenue property owned by MADD Assets LL $1,214,500 to $250. At the time a $250 per day lien was imposed on Nov. 20, 2007, the property was owned by Georgia Marshall. MADD Assets, LLC acquired the property by tax deed on Nov. 5, 2020. There is also a pending foreclosure case regarding this property with a recorded judgment in the amount of $5,000. The foreclosure sale of the property was put “on hold” pending resolution of the lien reduction case. MADD Assets LLC has or had a pending sale of the property for approximately $18,000. Dismissal of the foreclosure case and satisfaction of judgment is needed as well as a release of lien to clear title prior to sale.

• The Special Magistrate has recommended the county reduce the lien on the 3189 NW 74th Terrace property owned by MADD Assets LLC, from $49,175 to $500. At the time the $25 per day fine was imposed on Feb. 15, 2005 the property was owned by David Hunter. MADD Assets, LLC acquired the property by tax deed on Nov. 5, 2020.

• The Special Magistrate has recommended the county reduce the lien on the 2219 SE 40th Avenue property owned by MADD Assets LLC from $135,200 to $500. On Aug. 21, 2013, when the $50 per day fine was imposed, the property was owned by Howard F. Haight and Heather L. Fisher. MADD Assets, LLC acquired the property by tax deed on Nov. 5, 2020.

• The Special Magistrate has recommended the county reduce the lien on the 16605 N.W. 32nd Ave. property owned by M5 Investments LCC from $39,500 to $2,500. The $25 per day fine was imposed on June 21, 2016, when the property was owned by Teryl L. Mateo.

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