Back in 2018, a news headline caught the attention of many people. It was about a nearly 80-year-old man who was struggling with dementia and had been evicted from one of the only homes he had every lived in. He had apparently not paid his property tax for a while. So, the house was seized. Additionally, his belongings were scattered over the lawn outside.
Evicted for $6,000 unpaid taxes
Billie McGruder was just a few weeks shy of turning 80 years old. He is well known in his neighborhood for being a veteran who gets a little confused. With his forgetful mind, he apparently forgot to pay his property taxes over some time, and as a result, his house was seized and he was evicted. Furthermore, the house had been in his family for some time. His parents had bought the house in the 1930’s, and he had inherited it when they passed. It was the only house he had lived in.
One day, he answered a knock on the door. The person he greeted told him to pick up his belongings because he was being evicted. “All this is furniture from my living room,” McGruder said, referring to the items scattered across the lawn outside. “It’s out there for everybody to see.” He added: “They come to evict me for back taxes.”
Neighbors jumped in to help
Anthony Drake Jr, grew up across the road from Billie. He had known the dementia ridden veteran his whole life. So, he jumped at the opportunity to help the old man. He put some of his belongings away to keep them safe, and he offered Billie a place to stay until they found a more permanent solution. “I just flew here immediately. He’s like a grandfather to me,” said Anthony. “As long as he doesn’t have a home, he has one here,” he added.
Sold at auction
The house was sold at auction in 2017. However, the new owner, Yamal Mulid, claimed to be oblivious to what happened to Billie. “If I knew this was going to happen or the old man is in the house, I would never have bought the house,” he said. “If they want the house back, they can have it. I wish they could come up with the money and they can buy the house back from me.”
State Senator Konni Burton is the Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector. He confirmed that Mulid agreed to back out of the sale. this would allow Billie to go back to his house. “He will back out of the sale, and so now, the home can go back to Mr. McGruder,” said Burton.
Billie had dementia
Billie is said to owe about $6,000 in unpaid property taxes. Consequently, Tarrant County seized his house. They ended up auctioning the house for $38,000. As a result, Billie was left stranded without a place to live. According to Constable Campbell, Billie did have an opportunity to file a dispute with the law. “He had an opportunity to file a legal challenge to the writ.”
However, Billie has dementia, so he most likely was very confused at the time his house was seized. He wasn’t able to make his tax payments let alone file a legal challenge. His neighbor, Anthony said: “He understands but he doesn’t understand.”
- “80-Year-Old Fort Worth Man Evicted From Home.” CBS News. June 23, 2018
- “79-Year-Old Vet with Dementia Evicted by Gov’t from Home He OWNED Over Unpaid Property Taxes.” Intruders-alert.
- “An elderly veteran who has owned his home since the 1930’s was evicted and thrown out on the street by government because he couldn’t afford his property taxes.” The Free Thought Project. Jay Syrmopoulos. June 28, 2018