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Guyana-born US resident’s home seized for under US$1,000

Calvin James, 61, lost his Syracuse home because he came up $936 short on his city taxes, even though he’d already paid $9,877 in a six-month period.

Calvin James, 61, had his home seized by city officials in Syracuse after he fell $936 short on an $11,000 tax tab, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports.

 A Syracuse man is fighting to get his home back from the city after he paid nearly $10,000 in back taxes over a six-month period, but came up $936 short and lost it.

“I tried so hard. I tried so hard to make these payments,” Calvin James told the Syracuse Post-Standard about his fight to save his modest pad in the city’s Northside neighborhood.

James, 61, who moved to New York from Guyana 30 years ago, discovered he lost his home on Dec. 6 when he arrived at City Hall with a $1,500 check, but was told it was too late — the home had been seized two days ago.
 “I nearly fell off my feet, I was so stunned,” he told the newspaper.

The Post-Standard reported that James is one of scores of Syracuse homeowners who have lost their digs due to an aggressive foreclosure program launched in 2012.

The program puts tax-troubled properties into the hands of the independent Greater Syracuse land bank, which either sells or demolishes them.
 James bought the home at 118 Delong Ave. in 2009 for $8,500, the Post-Standard said.

It was one of a five investments he made looking to cash in on Syracuse’s cheap real estate market.

A few of the properties had unpaid tax liens, and James fell on hard times after paying his ailing father’s medical bills.

 In April, he recieved a notice that he owed $11,000 on the Delong Ave. home.

He ended up paying nearly $10,000 over the next six months, but missed a November deadline to pay off a $936 tax lien.

City officials said James’ situation was unfortunate, but there was nothing that could be done.

“This guy was given all the proper notifications and just came up short,” Paul Driscoll, commissioner of neighborhood and business development, told the newspaper.

“It’s not something that I think that we’re going to request the land bank to return.”

James currently lives at the home on a $500 month-to-month lease.