As everyone from Al Capone to DMX knows, if you don’t pay your taxes, it’s eventually going to catch up with you.
The latest to learn this lesson are the members of the homeowners association of Presidio Terrace, a gated community in San Francisco that’s filled with multimillion dollar homes. After the association allegedly failed to pay a $14 tax bill for the actual street that Presidio Terrace homes line for three decades, the private road was sold at auction for about $90,000 to San Jose couple Tina Lam and Michael Cheng in 2015, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Although the Presidio Terrace Association has filed a lawsuit protesting the sale on the basis that they were unaware of the unpaid bills because of a mailing address error, the new owners could theoretically sell or rent the 120 parking spots on the street to whomever they want, whether they live behind the gates of Presidio Terrace or not.
If this sounds a little unfair, or at the very least unneighborly, consider this 1906 ad copy (courtesy of Curbed) advertising Presidio Terrace to potential buyers: "There is only one spot in San Francisco where only Caucasians are permitted to buy or lease real estate or where they may reside. That place is Presidio Terrace."
Obviously that was more than a century ago and the neighborhood has changed, but we can see why Presidio Terrace’s history might give Lam and Cheng some added motivation to really stick it to residents.
And, if city hall has anything to say about, they’ll certainly be able to as it sounds as if the street will remain in Lam and Cheng’s possession. "Ninety-nine percent of property owners in San Francisco know what they need to do, and they pay their taxes on time — and they keep their mailing address up to date,” a spokeswoman told The Chronicle.