Sunday Flashback: Dir. of Redevelopment: Gary Would Rather Have Your Property Than Your Tax Money

The Daley Plan is coming to Northwest Indiana and the Gazette hopes to bring you all the information that is relevant to understanding what is going on and how it will impact the region.

This article is from September,2015 when the City of Gary was taking houses via Lake County Commissioner Certificates. As we watch the plan to now hand these properties over to Daley and his MAIACO cronies, the end game is in sight. Where is the Fuller Center for Housing now? What happened to the Mayor’s Jackson Street of Dreams? Why is Joe VanDyk still employed by the City of Gary after years of failure after failure? Gary Department of Redevelopment officials have requested well over 3,000 properties from the Lake County Commissioners this year.

[28 Sep 2015]

The Gazette has obtained copies of documents which may go a long way in explaining the low tax collection rate for the City of Gary. In recent published reports, a collection rate of just 42% has been quoted several times (the Gazette disputes this number).

In documents the Gazette has obtained through a public records request, City of Gary Department of Redevelopment Director Joe Van Dyk strongly implies that the City is pursuing properties, not taxes. Certainly, that is the case as it relates to the Fuller Center for Housing of Gary and the Jackson St of Dreams properties ( 65 parcels) addressed in the thread obtained. “If this goes public, there is a greater likelihood that people will redeem their properties.”-EMail from Joe Van Dyk, Director of Redevelopment, City of Gary

As you can see above, Van Dyk seems to be warning that, if word gets out that the City is trying to obtain title to the Fuller Center for Housing of Gary Jackson St of Dreams properties, the owners may redeem. Redemption is a process whereby an owner pays the delinquent taxes and keeps his or her property. This should be the favored outcome for any tax delinquent property.
Not so in the city of Gary! In fact, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson in her reply regarding Van Dyk’s email provides more evidence that the City actually has a policy of discouraging outside investors when she refers to “speculators” as “bottom feeders.”

Perhaps most troubling is that each of the houses acquired had been grossly overassessed. So property owners were taxed at two to three times what they should have been, failed to pay, and then the City swooped in and took them before the “bottomfeeders” could purchase them and rehab them. While Van Dyk bemoans the number of vacant homes owned by LLCs, he makes no mention of the number of crumbling buildings under his control.

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