ROXBURY — Selectmen unanimously voted Wednesday evening to consult with a Portland lawyer on three tax-acquired properties this month, after the former owners requested to reclaim their quarter-acre lots.

The board also scheduled a budget workshop for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, at the Town Office.

Board of Selectmen Chairman John Sutton and Renee Hodsdon, deputy town clerk, tax collector and treasurer, broached the foreclosures on two lots owned by Brenda Carvalho of Lowell, Mass. and one lot owned by Paul Joy of Marlborough, Mass.

Hodsdon said the town foreclosed on the properties Jan. 8 after sending the owners several notices last year and did not receive a response from either.

Sutton said the board wanted to consult with Rumford lawyer Jennifer Kreckel on the next step in the process. However, he said that because Kreckel has represented both owners in the past, she declined. When asked, she recommended Portland lawyer James N. Katsiaficas.

The board voted 3-0 to hire Katsiaficas, who charges $225 an hour, Sutton said. The town will add its attorney fees to the foreclosed properties fee, he said.


Sutton said Katsiaficas has agreed to represent Roxbury in the matter.

Complicating matters with one of Carvalho’s properties is a dilapidated building that Roxbury deemed dangerous and wants to demolish. Sutton said Carvalho called Hodsdon after learning about the foreclosures and wanted to know if she could pay the back taxes and reclaim them.

Hodsdon said that after the foreclosure date, Carvalho had mailed the town a packet of information said to include payment for taxes owed, but Hodsdon hasn’t opened the packet yet, placing the matter before the board.

“I didn’t open it, because I didn’t want it to look like we were accepting payment,” Hodsdon said. “I’m assuming we should just send it back.”

Hodsdon said she advised Carvalho that the town had sent her numerous notices about the taxes owed and the issue with the dangerous building the town wanted her to remove at her expense. She told Carvalho that if she wanted to retain the properties, she should have responded.

Sutton told fellow board members Timothy Derouche and Mike Worthley that Carvalho told Hodsdon that she believed the town had already demolished the building.


Resident Matthew Patneaude advised selectmen that someone had broken down the barricade tape around the building, which has a partially collapsed roof.

Hodsdon said she told Carvalho that she needs to tell selectmen why she hasn’t responded to the notices and whether she is still interested in owning the properties. She said Carvalho faxed a letter to that effect.

Another issue was whether Joy and Carvalho were still married to each other, but Sutton said he wants to keep the two matters separate on the tax bill. He said Joy’s former property isn’t as complicated to deal with, because it doesn’t have a dangerous building.

Hodsdon said Joy also called her about his property. He said he was unaware of the liens and pending foreclosure and sent Hodsdon a similar letter.

Sutton read Joy’s letter into the record, stating that Joy’s life had been destabilized for some time, but is now stable enough so that Joy can focus on reclaiming his property.

Joy asked for the amount of taxes he owes and said he would pay them in full.


Sutton asked Hodsdon if Roxbury works with owners who lost their properties to the town, provided there are no dangerous buildings on them.

Hodsdon said it does. She said Joy owed taxes for 2012, 2013 and 2014, plus interest and recording fees.

She suggested waiting to hear from attorney Katsiaficas “to make sure we’re doing it right.”

Derouche advised Hodsdon to notify Joy and Carvalho that the board is consulting with a lawyer for direction.

“I agree with Renee,” Sutton said. “This is a complicated case. We don’t know if they’re still husband and wife and owning the property separately. The prudent thing is to have Renee inform the attorney about what these persons want to do to see if it complicates the thing or if we should just treat them as separate properties.”

Hodsdon said she is also curious if the lawyer will advise that every foreclosed property should be put up for bid, which would set a precedent for Roxbury.

“If somebody pays their back taxes, I don’t have a problem with saying OK,” Sutton said.

He motioned to forward Joy’s letter to Katsiaficas and it was approved 3-0.

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