According to the Spalding County tax records, which can be accessed at www.spaldingcountytax.com, a partnership consisting of Morrow and Michael H. Jackson of Hampton owes a $54,054.84 in property taxes on a property at 1140 Cowan Road. The $54,054.84 is recorded on the 2009 tax bill; the 2008 tax bill lists $36,138.45 in taxes owed for that year, $17,049.20 of which are back taxes owed from 2007.
“We own the building,” Morrow said. “It was leased to an operator — a person owns the day-care business and we leased the building to them.”
Morrow described the lease as “triple net,” meaning that the lessee, Carlos Miller, pays the property taxes and maintenance and insurance. It was Miller’s job to pay the taxes himself.
“We didn’t collect the money,” Morrow said.
Morrow said the day-care business is suffering due to the economy.
Morrow said he first heard about the taxes not being paid last fall but was told an arrangement had been made to deal with the situation. It was only in the spring that he learned the payments had still not been made. Since the tenant has not paid the taxes, it is up to Morrow and Jackson to do this.
“We’ll get them paid one way or another when this all sorts out,” Morrow said.
He said he has spoken with his attorney and the bank and the bank has agreed to pay the back taxes and add that onto the mortgage.
He said he is embarrassed by the situation but the taxes will be paid, with penalties and interest, within the next three weeks.
“I don’t have an answer to that,” he said when asked if he will taken any action against Miller. “Mr. Miller is trying to make his business successful and I hope he can, so we can avoid this in the future.”
If Miller’s business is not successful, he does not know what he will do.
Miller could not be reached for comment.
Spalding County Tax Commissioner Sylvia Hollums said having the lessee pay the property taxes is fairly common.
“That’s not unusual at all,” she said.
She said the 2007 taxes were partially paid but no payment was received for the 2008 and 2009 property tax bills. Notice was sent out in December 2009 that the property was to be sold for taxes. Hollums said the bills — and the sales notice — were sent to 5138 Old Atlanta Road in Hampton.
Morrow said he did not receive any of these notices. He said his partner typically handles that part of the business.
Hollums said the property was originally to be sold for taxes in February. However, the bank holding the mortgage on the property is a failed bank under the control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). The property had to be removed from the sale because the FDIC does not permit selling the assets of FDIC-controlled banks for taxes.
The tax office has put a lien on the property. It is scheduled for tax sale in August but Hollums does not know if that is possible.