The Marc Steiner Show

May 18, 2010 – Hour 2

Continuing a practice that has existed for years, yesterday Baltimore officials auctioned liens on 12,689 homes and properties whose owners had outstanding local taxes and municipal bills, according to a report by the Huffington Post Investigative Fund.

Is this a viable way for a cash-strapped city to recover unpaid bills, or a scam that allows investors to profit from people in need?

We’re joined by reporter Fred Schulte, Maryland Senator Jim Brochin, and Debra Gardner, Legal Director of the Public Justice Center.

Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


  1. Another side of this issue is that the tax liens are bundled and sold in “batches”. This has the effect of ensuring that individuals cannot buy liens for single properties.

    Baltimore has so many vacant houses, but they are being held by investors who have no incentive to fix them. Instead many just accrue tax bills until they are again converted into liens and sold in a future tax sale.

    Changing the auction system to sell each lien on its own would raise more money for the city and allow more properties to find their way back into the housing stock.

    And that’s what the city wants to do, right? Right?

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