• RealNEO.us
Frank Giglio once owned a house in Tremont. But the city of Cleveland’s building department determined, after a dozen years of code violations, that it was unfit to live in. So they evicted him and covered the windows and doors with plywood to keep him out. Two years later, they knocked it down. Now all Giglio has is a couple of parcels of land. And over a delinquent tax bill of less than $200, they’ve started taking that too.

Giglio’s garden used to occupy a lot next to the one where his house stood. He hasn’t made a tax payment on the garden parcel since 2007. He owes $184.50 — less than the $500 threshold the county treasurer’s office sets for filing tax foreclosure after a year, according to county attorney Jeff Schiffman.
“I’d ask at the Board of Revisions about the $184 bill, if they’d go into foreclosure,” says Giglio. “They told me don’t worry about it. Now suddenly they want to foreclose.”

But the bill was closer to $900 in September, due to fees applied for cutting high weeds. Those fees were removed, but not before a tax-foreclosure case was filed. Cleveland files affidavits on tax-delinquent vacant properties, prompting the Board of Revisions to foreclose on them so that they can be taken into the land bank, says Schiffman.

The adjacent property, where Giglio’s house once stood, is likely to face the same situation if he fails to make payments on the outstanding balance. The tax bill on that property rose from about $1,400 last year to about $17,500 after the city applied board-up and demolition costs.

So they’re making him pay for having it knocked down, and if he can’t pay, they’re going to take the land. According to Schiffman, the foreclosure case can be stopped if the bill and costs are paid in full. Counting court costs and a title search, that brings the total to about $745. A lesser payment could at least establish a payment plan.

Giglio’s friend Lily Miller has organized a fundraiser for 2-5 p.m. Sunday, December 6, at Mt. Zion UCC Fellowship Hall (2716 W. 14th St.). There’s no specific ticket price; Miller suggests, “Just give what you can.” For information, call 216.386.6546.

RealNEO has more about Giglio's plight. — Michael Gill