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DC Mayor outraged over tax debt practice

Monday - 9/9/2013, 4:40pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Council member Jack Evans say they will introduce emergency legislation to block predatory debt collection that has caused hundreds of city residents to lose their homes, a practice uncovered by a Washington Post investigation.

The paper reports (http://wapo.st/16fvk1A ) Gray said Monday he was shocked to learn about the practice from a report published Sunday.

The Post reported that the city for years placed liens on properties when homeowners did not pay their tax bills. Liens are sold at auction for investors to collect the debts. But some investors engaged in a predatory system of debt collection, using legal fees and interest to turn $500 tax bills into $5,000 debts.

The paper says the practice allowed investors to foreclose on nearly 200 homes since 2005.

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