On the record

Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, in the AJC Feb. 13: “I think we just need to have some better oversight from the county government on the person serving as tax commissioner.”

From a Feb. 24 AJC story about lien sales:
James Honkisz, chairman and president of the Fulton County Taxpayers Association: “It hurts every single Fulton County taxpayer, this kind of arrangement. There are certainly enough question marks your investigation has uncovered that deserve answers not only to the AJC, but the Fulton County taxpayers.”

State Rep. Lynne Riley, R-Johns Creek, on early sales of liens before penalties apply: “This is unacceptable in many ways.”
“You can understand, now, why we’ve been concerned about many of the practices taking place in that office.”

Frank S. Alexander, an Emory University law professor specializing in Georgia real estate finance and foreclosure law: “I am puzzled by the timing and pricing of this because if you’re going to sell the liens and if your goal is to maximize the rate of return, why not wait an additional week and add the 10 percent penalty?
“This shows one of the reasons why permitting the sale of tax liens is fraught with dangers for the operating of local governments.”

State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta: “The question is, should we be selling tax liens before the 10 percent penalty is assessed? I would think not.”

Fulton County Tax Commissioner Arthur Ferdinand, in a written response to the AJC: “The responsibility of the tax commissioner is to optimize the collection of taxes, not to maximize the amount of taxes collected.”

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, regarding an AJC Open Records Act violation complaint about the Fulton Tax Commissioner’s stance on releasing data: “It’s very unfortunate that it took so much time to do what was right, and it’s very unfortunate that it took a letter saying that suit would come within 10 days.”
“That’s not the way the Open Records Act is supposed to work.”

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