Moorhead mayoral candidate allowed to repurchase tax forfeited home
A disabled veteran, Kevin 'NeSe' Shores is not required to pay property taxes under Minnesota law, but failed to complete the necessary paperwork, Clay County Auditor Lori Johnson said.
MOORHEAD — Moorhead mayoral candidate Kevin “Nese” Shores will be allowed to repurchase his tax forfeited property from the state, according to a recent motion unanimously passed by the Clay County Board of Commissioners on Oct. 4.
The Moorhead home had been declared a tax forfeited property after Shores did not pay his property taxes since 2018, according to Lori Johnson, Clay County auditor and treasurer.
The Commission unanimously voted to allow Shores to repurchase his property, and now must pay $16,750.16 in delinquent taxes and fees.
“It has been a constant battle of them sending a blind man letters and forms to fill out,” Shores said, adding he couldn't read the letters sent by the county or the city regarding the issue, and requested forms via email.
Johnson said the county emailed the forms, but such action didn't resolve the truant property taxes.
City of Moorhead representative Mark Dickerson said the city reached out to Clay County Veterans Services to follow up after Shores did not respond to the emails sent his way.
Shores pointed out that he is allowed a waiver for property taxes because of his disabled veterans status.
The exemption reduces the value of a home for qualifying disabled veteran homeowners up to $300,000, according to the Minnesota House Research Department.
While Johnson agreed that Shores qualified for the tax exemption, she said he did not fill out the paperwork to get it.
“The city and the county have bent over backwards to try and help him with his forms… and complete the process,” Johnson said.
The problem arose when he “refused to fill out the homestead form,” Johnson said. He couldn't qualify for the blind disabled veteran exclusion until that was filled out, according to Johnson.
She said the county sent people to his home to assist him many times since the forfeiture process began in 2018.
The mayoral candidate said he was working with Clay County Veterans Services Officer Curt Cannon to rectify the situation.
Commissioner Jenny Mongeau said the board's decision on Oct. 4 to allow Shores to repurchase his home was worked through prior to the meeting with help from Johnson.
Stephen Larson, city administrator, also worked through the decision with legal counsel to “make sure we are following all the parameters,” Mongeau said.
When addressing the Commission back on Sept. 13 , Shores said that he felt that the county should not have moved forward with the forfeiture while he was working to rectify the situation with Cannon.
He also felt he never should have owed them property taxes in the first place due to his exception as a disabled veteran.
With the approved motion, Shores said the future is looking good, adding the state of Minnesota has a grant program to assist in his situation.
“They are covering the alleged delinquent taxes,” Shores said, who has since filed the necessary paperwork to obtain the property taxes exemption that he is qualified for, according to Dickerson.
Due to his qualification for a disabled veteran credit, Shores will only need to pay special assessments to maintain his property going forward, according to Johnson. Special assessments on his parcel in 2022 totaled $127.88 and $84.50 in 2021, Johnson added.
“This is another reason I am rolling for mayor,” Shores said, “because what a difference it would make if we were able to look at the perspectives of those like myself and what we have learned through our suffering.”
Going forward, Shores hopes there will be more accessible options with government forms for people who are blind and sight impaired.
“In this technologically advanced state that we find ourselves in, it is an atrocity that they don’t have a means for individuals that are blind are sight impaired,” Shores said.