MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Along Lamar Avenue, you’ll find a neglected tire shop near the corner of Barron and Hamilton Street. Abandoned refrigerators, barrels of sludge and, most noticeable, piles and piles of used tires, fill the lot.
“The city doesn’t want this. They want to throw it in my lap, I don’t want it either,” Frances Wright Moore says.
The courts awarded Wright this property and two homes from the man who admitted to killing her husband Mickey, a code enforcement officer, back in 2001.
But she refuses to put this property in her name — and she has nearly 130,000 reasons why she’s holding off.
If the property goes into Wright’s name, she becomes responsible for the city and county taxes and penalties that have gone unpaid for years, about $126,000 at her last count.
“Pay off his debt, while he is laying back and my taxes are still paying for his housing,” she said. “It’s ludicrous, it’s an embarrassment. I’m offended, I’m ***** off, I’m appalled.”
The standing water appears to be a breeding ground for insects. More and more trash is discarded in the lot by the day.
It’s a reminder of what Wright calls a failure of justice — that she’s being asked to pay the taxes for her husband’s admitted killer.
“It’s still a miscarriage of justice, for them to throw this into my lap,” she said.
Her efforts have gone from the courtroom to crowdfunding, with hopes she will raise enough to avoid losing this land in an October tax sale. She knows time is of the essence.
“My goal is to raise enough money to pay the oldest two years, and then I can push that October sale back,” Wright said.
Shelby County Trustee Regina Newman confirmed to WREG via phone that any back taxes follow the property.
But Wright is hoping a little-known Tennessee code that deems a property an environmental hazard will help in her efforts.
“So according to the code annotated it says the penalties, the interest, the attorney fees, the weeds all of that the expenses of that which they put on the tax bill that can be waived,” Wright said.
— By Jerrita Patterson