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Ray v. Frye

Supreme Court of Arizona

December 8, 1941

JOHN W. RAY, Appellant,
GEORGE FRYE, JOHN A. FOOTE, and CHARLES H. FIELDS, Constituting the Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County, State of Arizona, and JAMES DeSOUZA, Clerk of Said Board, Appellees

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. Dudley W. Windes, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Mr. John W. Ray, in propria persona.

Mr. Richard F. Harless, County Attorney, and Mr. Leslie C. Hardy, Deputy County Attorney, for Appellees.


Page 942


The plaintiff, John W. Ray, brought this action of mandamus to compel the defendants, constituting the Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County, to make, execute and deliver to him, as the highest bidder for cash, a deed to Lots 1, 2 and 3, Block 2, Churchill Addition to the City of Phoenix. Issues were formed and a trial had resulting in a judgment against plaintiff, who has appealed.

[58 Ariz. 342] On June 24, 1940, the State of Arizona acquired the tax title to such lots through a deed from the Treasurer of Maricopa County for nonpayment of taxes by the owner, Hattie L. Mosher. Section 73-838, Arizona Code 1939, provides that the board of supervisors, on or before the first Monday of November in each year, shall make a list of real property held by the state under tax title and advertise the same for sale at private sale at the office of the board. Section 73-839, so far as material, reads:

"The board of supervisors may, after such advertisement, sell such real estate to the highest bidder for cash, and upon such sale shall execute and deliver to the purchaser, at his cost, a deed conveying to him the title of the state in and to the tract so purchased."

After the advertisement was completed and on March 4, 1941, the plaintiff, as the holder of a certificate of purchase under a judgment and execution in plaintiff's favor at a sheriff's sale of said lots, submitted to the board of supervisors the following proposition of purchase:

"... I propose and offer to pay for a state tax deed for the three lots the sum of Nine Thousand ($9,000.00). You understand that in making this offer I am in no way waiving any objection I may have as to any proceedings to assess a tax against the lots for any years, or any proceeding had to sell same, nor waive any action by any authority to this claim of taxes due on such lots. I am leaving all that out and proposing to pay the above sum in compromise and settlement of taxes that may be demanded as due the State, the County and School District and making this offer as a purchaser of the right and title of H. L. Mosher under a decree and sheriff's sale. May I remind you of these facts: The records of the Treasurer's office show a pretended sale in 1932 and another in 1938 by an entry on some book there of the these words, 'sold to the state' and this entry was made by a clerk in the treasurers after the date of the advertised sale, [58 Ariz. 343] and without any authority from any legal source so to do; also the fact that these lots were sold by the sheriff on decree and execution to the American Surety Company of New York and redeemed and deed made to the so-called redemptioner (which is in the sheriffs office now) and that the purchase or redemption money was paid over to the American Surety Company and was not applied on any claimed delinquent taxes, presumably because no taxes were due; also that I hold a sheriffs certificate of purchase of these lots dated September 17, 1940, given me on a statement to the sheriff that no taxes were due on these lots; also to the fact, well known, that all these years H. L. Mosher has now and had other property in this county, both real and personal, on which there were no mortgage or other liens, save deficiency judgment liens of general creditors, out of which all sums due as taxes from H. L. Mosher could have been coerced and realized. May I also call your attention to the fairly recent opinion of our State Supreme Court that penalties added to delinquent taxes were not taxes or a charge against the property, but was only a charge against the owner for his neglect to pay and no lien exists against the property for these penalties. That opinion cuts a very large slice off what you consider the sum due on these lots.

"Now, I don't desire to litigate any one or all these questions or any others that may arise, nor do I desire to waive any

Page 943

objection or defense against any claim of taxes, in case litigation ...

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