Buyer gets result for refund on land tax sales from the City of St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – The City of St. Louis holds land tax sales at the Civil Courts building downtown where properties are up for sale due to owners not paying property taxes for four years.

The city host the land sales tax five times a year and in 2021, Neshobey Payne participated in one of the auctions.

“You identify which houses you want, you show up at the tax sale, you bid on it,” said Payne. “Either you win the bid or you don’t. This particular parcel, I won.”

In March, she said she was in court over the property.

“The court determined that the city did not have the right to sell the property and that it would revert to the previous owner, which was fine,” said Payne. “I was like ok, St. Louis City, I would like my money back. They have not given it back.”

Payne wrote FOX 2 an email asking for help getting answers and action regarding more than $10,000 she says she’s owed.

“Voicemails. I’ve shown up. They defaulted to the comptroller. Wait another two weeks, no results,” said Payne. “I go back to the sheriff’s office, and they’re like, we have a new system, it’s not working right. We have to get it figured out, I just want my money back. That’s all.”

FOX 2 contacted St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts on Payne’s behalf. The sheriff’s staff with assistance from the comptroller’s office said they sent the check in the mail and Payne should expect it soon.

“I wanted you to be able to see how the process works, so you could report that, and it be authentic,” said Betts. “I think that helps to add to the credibility of the Sheriff’s Department.”

The sheriff said he blamed the new system for the delay. He said the city is using it to process everything from invoices and payments to payroll for city employees.

“Anything that we can do to move that process along and everyone is happy with participating, that’s what we want to do,” said Betts. “I’m really happy that things are going to work out for the young lady, and anybody in St. Louis who has problems with the land tax sale or issues pertaining to that. Just come down and see us and we can always work it out.”