Newly annexed Cordova residents sue City of Memphis | News
CORDOVA, TN- (WMC-TV) – The Cordova neighborhood annexed by Memphis is refusing to pay taxes for services homeowners did not receive.
And now, they are suing.
South Cordova residents compare paying retroactive property taxes to that of paying rent or mortgage for a house you did not live in for six months. They say it is unfair and illegal.
Joseph Oshields and Warren Riggs are two of five plaintiffs representing about 5,000 South Cordova residents in class action lawsuit filed Tuesday.
"How in the world can we be annexed retroactively?" asked Warren Riggs, South Cordova resident.
"To me, it's taxation without representation," said South Cordova resident Joe Oshields.
The suit claims that the collection of back property taxes from the City of Memphis are illegal.
Oshields says residents were blind sided by the city's approach.
"The letter came later as far as the annexation but initially we heard it on the news," he said.
"I think it's going to result in quite a few foreclosures," said Riggs.
Riggs says South Cordova is made up of seniors and many young families.
"And they can just ill afford to have their property taxes almost double," Riggs explained.
Cordova residents fought the annexation for nearly 11 years and now, in this new lawsuit, they refer back to a more than 20 year old chancery court case to substantiate their claims.
Piper versus the City of Memphis is a 1990 case that also involved a newly annexed area of Cordova.
"And in that case the city tried to prorate the taxes," said Oshields.
Residents were victorious in that litigation.
Riggs is hoping for a similar outcome and believes Memphis has become obsessed with annexation rather than retention.
"Try to attract those people back into the city who have exited the city," he said.
Both men say the suit is a demand that South Cordovans are annexed fairly and without haste.
Action News 5 contacted the city attorney for a response to the lawsuit but as of Wednesday evening, we have yet to hear back.
Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.