City slaps liens on houses owned by Gibson Schmoke adviser says he'll pay today

March 15, 1991|By Ginger Thompson

The city has placed liens on two houses owned by Larry S. Gibson, chief political adviser to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, because Mr. Gibson owes the city money for taxes and sidewalk repair.

Officials in the city's collection office say the past-due amount totals nearly $8,000 -- including 1990-1991 taxes and a fee charged by the city for repairing sidewalks around the row houses in the 1900 block of Eutaw Place.

If Mr. Gibson fails to make the payments -- which were due July 1 -- by May 8, the city will auction the liens on the homes. The buyer could begin foreclosure proceedings after six months if the taxes remain unpaid.

But Mr. Gibson, a professor at the University of Maryland Law School, said he intends to pay the $8,000 plus any accrued interest today. And he insists that his failure to pay the taxes had no impact on the city.

"I'll pay the fee by the deadline, but it's like some people who wait until the last minute to renew their driver's license or file their income taxes," said Mr. Gibson, who is credited with propelling Mr. Schmoke from relative obscurity to the mayor's office.

"I moved this year to a new residence, and I chose to pay the taxes on my new residence and defer paying taxes on my old ones," he said. "But as long as I pay the interest, I'm not hurting the city at all."

Mr. Gibson said that the sidewalks around the two houses were crumbling and that he asked the city to repair them for approximately $1,500 last summer. He said he also decided to defer payment on that bill until tomorrow.

Mr. Gibson's properties were two of more than 14,000 which could be put up for auction in May if the owners of the properties do not pay their debts to the city. A list of those properties was published in The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday.

Martha Dixon, of the city's Bureau of Collections, said the list was published according to state law. She said the list serves as a final notice of past-due taxes to the homeowners and mortgage holders. And she said it alerts prospective buyers.

Ms. Dixon estimates that only 3,000 to 4,000 of the homes listed will actually be auctioned.

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