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Woman ordered to pay $2K for previous owner’s mess

The owner of a Drexel home is facing a $2,000 bill for cleanup to the property that happened before she owned it.

TK Smith called the I-Team, which confirmed her story: Jefferson Twp. cleaned up the property at 102 Lawncrest Ave. in spring 2012 and billed the former owner. But neither the former owner nor Fannie Mae, which took possession of the property after foreclosure, paid the bill.

By the time the tax lien was assessed, Smith had already purchased the property in August 2012 for $7,500.

Smith said she bought it as a fixer-upper possibly to rent out, and did a title search that showed clear title. Then she saw online in October that she owed a tax lien for more than a quarter of what she paid for the property.

“I’ve been fighting almost a year to get them to take it off,” she told the I-Team. “It’d be different if it was one or two hundred dollars. But two thousand? I don’t think anybody can afford that.”

Now the property is for sale, but the lien hangs like a dark cloud over it after attempts to settle the issue with Jefferson Twp. were unsuccessful.

“I honestly thought I was going to make a phone call and get it squashed,” she said. “How do you just stick somebody with a $2,000 bill, and we’re supposed to just pay it. It’s not fair.”

She said calls to Fannie Mae have gone unreturned and she’s appealing a denial by her title insurance.

Jefferson Twp. Administrator Len Roberts said the township is trying to more aggressively deal with property cleanups, and he said Smith’s title insurance should cover it.

“It is a legitimate claim. The work was done. It was a mess. It’s unfortunate Ms. Smith was caught in a timing bind,” he said.

Kasich to pay back $22K in contributions

Ohio Gov. John Kasich will donate to charity more than $22,000 he received in campaign contributions from a businessman being accused of allegedly skirting campaign finance laws while funneling thousands of dollars to two congressional campaigns.

Kasich’s spokesman Rob Nichols says the governor will donate the money to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio.

The governor’s campaign got the money at issue from direct-marketing magnate Benjamin Suarez, who was indicted on federal court Wednesday. The 72-year-old Canton man has pleaded not guilty to various charges including violating campaign finance laws and obstructing justice.

D.C. swimming in dough

So much money is flowing into the nation’s capital that Washington, D.C., dominates the U.S. Census Bureau’s updated list of America’s wealthiest counties, according to a recent article in the Weekly Standard.

“In a nation that ranges from the Pacific to the Atlantic and boasts such grand and affluent cities as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, Boston, and Seattle (among others), the four wealthiest counties in the land are all within commuting distance of the capital,” according to the conservative publication.

The wealthiest county in America is Arlington County, Virgina, located just across the Potomac River from D.C. It boasts a median family income of $137,216, which is more than $10,000 higher than any other county, the publication states.

A portrait of waste, some say

The Eliminating Government-funded Oil-painting, or EGO, Act, would put an end to the practice of government commissioned oil paintings for federal agency department heads and former House and Senate leaders, according to a recent Los Angeles Times article.

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., told the Times he introduced it after reports that the Environmental Protection Agency spent $38,350 for former administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s portrait.

The bill would not affect depictions of presidents or House committee chairs, because they are funded by private donations.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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