City police chief pays back taxes on home

March 09, 1995|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier's name has been removed from the rolls of the city's tax deadbeats.

The property tax bill on Mr. Frazier's Roland Park home, which was due last September, was paid yesterday -- a day after the commissioner's name was among the owners of 18,472 properties listed in legal notices as owing money for back taxes, water bills, alley paving and other services.

The bill was paid yesterday after the commissioner's two-month-old final notice of the $9,364.25 bill was hand-delivered to his bank -- and his bank carried a check to the city collector's office.

"The important thing is the money's there, and the taxes have been paid," Mr. Frazier said yesterday through police spokesman Sam Ringgold.

Mr. Ringgold said Mr. Frazier was not placing any blame for his tax delinquency. "He's not embarking on any fact-finding exercise," he said.

An official of Mr. Frazier's mortgage lender said the money to pay the taxes had been escrowed but that the commissioner did not provide the bank with his tax bill until yesterday morning, when he hand-delivered the final notice, postmarked Jan. 11.

"His money was always there," said Charles C. Schmitt, executive vice president of Loyola Federal Savings Bank. "We were prepared to pay the taxes. But we didn't know what to pay."

"I do not think we are at fault," he added.

The January notices, which included warnings that if bills were not paid within 30 days the city would begin steps to auction the property, were the fourth sent to homeowners.

As is normal practice, bills were sent July 1, and owners had until Sept. 30 to pay them without penalties. Additional notices were sent in October and mid-November.

If money owed on properties is not paid by April 28, the property is auctioned at a tax sale in mid-May.

Mr. Frazier was not the only public official to be listed in the legal notices.

State Sen. Ralph M. Hughes was listed as owing $451.22 on his home in West Baltimore.

"I'm just behind in doing everything," Mr. Hughes, a Democrat, said yesterday. "I just haven't gotten around to it. I will now."

Also on the list was Daniel P. Henson Jr., the father of the city's housing commissioner, who was said to owe $2,902.02 on a home in West Baltimore.

"It's not me," said the commissioner, Daniel P. Henson III. "I pay my taxes." He said his father died about six years ago, although the older Mr. Henson's name is still on the tax rolls. "The house passed to one of my brothers, who apparently didn't pay the taxes," the commissioner said.

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