Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Storied Florida golf course property has largest unpaid property-tax lien in county history

By admin Jul5,2024

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The largest unpaid property-tax lien in St. Lucie County history was sold to a specialty firm at an auction last month, putting the future of a shuttered but storied local golf course in doubt.

Arizona-based Store Capital — owners of the 96-acre property that is home to the old Sinners Golf Course — has an unpaid $1,380,722.16 tax bill from 2023.

The golf course, once paired with Saints Golf Course, now owned by the city, changed its name to Club Med Sandpiper Bay Golf Club after splitting from its partner course. The Club Med name was later dropped by the surrounding all-inclusive resort, now branded as Sandpiper Bay Resort. The golf course is not currently in use.

Store Capital did not respond to a request to comment.

When property taxes go unpaid, municipalities often sell those tax liens to outside parties in order to more quickly recoup the lost revenue.

In this case, the lien was sold at auction last month, for the same nearly $1.4 million that was owed, to a subsidiary of Plantation-based Alterna Tax Asset Group, managing member Albert Friedman confirmed. Alterna, according to its website, is a “a national investment firm focused exclusively on the acquisition and management of property tax liens from municipalities.”

“This shortage saddles the taxpayers with the cost to carry the delinquency until such time as it is collected at the county or until such time as a tax lien sale,” Friedman said.

For the county, the sale fills the revenue hole. The buyer, in this case Alterna, now can attempt to recoup the funds with interest.

The interest rate is determined by the certificates given by the tax collector to a buyer. Certificates for this sale are still being finalized, St. Lucie County Tax Collector’s Office Tax Specialist Karen Pashkow said in an email. That said, according to information provided by Pashkow, the minimum interest most buyers will get at the time of redemption will be 5 percent.

If the property owner does not pay off its delinquency by April 2026, Friedman said, a tax deed application can begin, and the owner is at risk of losing the property to a bidder.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek


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