Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
COLLECTOR OF REVENUE OF ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, Respondent,
PARCELS OF LAND ENCUMBERED WITH DELINQUENT TAX LIENS LAND TAX SUIT 178, Defendants,
BJLIK, INC., Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable
Thomas Charles Clark II Circuit Court No. 1422-LT00178
("Appellant") appeals from the Amended Order to Pay
Out Excess Funds and Final Judgment ("Amended Order and
Judgment"), entered by the Circuit Court of the City of
St. Louis on September 8, 2016, ruling in favor of the
Sheriff and the Collector of Revenue for the City of St.
Louis ("Respondents") that a child support wage
withholding order has special statutory priority payment
status over a previously recorded judgment lien to monies
generated from the sale of real estate. We reverse and
facts of this case originate from a parcel of land located at
5291 Lindell Boulevard in St. Louis ("Parcel"),
which was owned by James Wright, III ("Wright").
When Wright failed to pay on a contract to purchase a
business from PJMW, Inc., a judgment lien was filed against
Wright on the Parcel in favor of PJMW, Inc. in the amount of
$251, 625; it was transcribed and recorded by the Circuit
Court of the City of St. Louis on November 9, 2012.
Eventually, after a land tax sale took place, PJMW, Inc. was
unaware that the Parcel had been sold and sold its judgment
lien to the newly formed Appellant for a discounted sum of
$75, 000 when it was valued at more than $250, 000 plus
accrued interest (amounting to $322, 479.84 as of August 17,
addition to the judgment lien held by Appellant, Wright was
delinquent in paying his city real estate taxes. There were
other liens on the Parcel as well. In August 2014, the
circuit court entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law
and Order of Judgment and Decree (of Foreclosure) in Land Tax
Suit 178, Cause No. 1422-LT00178 ("Foreclosure
Order"), ordering the foreclosure of the real estate
pursuant to the Municipal Land Reutilization Law Act,
Sections 92.700 et seq., RSMo,  to pay delinquent property taxes
that were owed to the City of St. Louis. The Collector of
Revenue for the City of St. Louis ("Collector of
Revenue") pursued the foreclosure order, and the Sheriff
of the City of St. Louis ("Sheriff") provided
notice that on July 14, 2015, a foreclosure sale would take
place to auction and sell the Parcel, the proceeds of which
were to be applied to satisfy foreclosure expenses and pay
Wright's delinquent real estate tax bills.
14, 2015, the Sheriff conducted a land tax foreclosure sale
and the Parcel was sold to Alps, LLC ("Alps") for
$341, 000. After deducting Wright's delinquent real
estate tax bills and the land tax foreclosure sale costs,
fees, and expenses from the payment by Alps to purchase the
property, there were remaining excess funds of more than
$315, 000 subject to distribution following the circuit
court's confirmation of Alp's purchase of the Parcel.
after the foreclosure sale, on July 29, 2015, an Order to
Withhold, recorded by the Missouri Family Support Division
("Family Support Division") was served upon the
Sheriff, naming Wright as the obligor for collection of
Wright's delinquent child support obligation totaling
more than $60, 000 at the time, from the proceeds of the land
tax sale pursuant to Section 454.505. The Family Support
Division filed a Motion for Distribution of Funds the next
day, on July 30, 2015, requesting a distribution from any
excess funds from the sale of the Parcel in order to satisfy
Wright's child support arrearage.
August 5, 2015, Alps filed a Motion to Confirm Land Tax Sale.
The next day, Appellant (which had just purchased the
judgment against Wright from PJMW, Inc.) filed a Motion to
Pay Out Excess Funds "up to $322, 479.84, "
requesting a distribution from any excess funds from the sale
of the Parcel to satisfy the judgment lien on the Parcel,
based on the November 9, 2012 transcript judgment processed
in the circuit court.
August 17, 2015, the circuit court confirmed the sale of the
Parcel to Alps. A hearing was also held on the claims to the
excess funds, whereby Appellant and the Family Support
Division appeared and argued their motions. Additional briefs
were filed thereafter.
29, 2016, the circuit court entered an Order to Pay Out
Excess Funds. On September 8, 2016, the circuit court amended
that order in its Amended Order to Pay Out Excess Funds and
Final Judgment ("Amended Order and Judgment") and
ruled the Order to Withhold asserted by the Family Support
Division had payment priority from the excess funds gained
from the sale of the Parcel over Appellant's previously
recorded judgment lien. The trial court judgment awarded the
excess funds from the land tax sale in order of priority as
follows: $4, 203.50 to Metropolitan Sewer
District; $60, 446.49 to Family Support Division
pursuant to the payout order; and the remaining $250, 900.29
to Appellant pursuant to its lien from the transcript default
judgment. This appeal follows.
sole point relied on, Appellant alleges the trial court erred
in ruling that Section 454.505 provided special statutory
priority status to Family Support Division's withholding
order to payment from funds generated by the sale of real
estate over a prior in time recorded judgment lien on the
same real estate that generated the funds. Appellant argues
the prior in time recorded judgment lien on real estate had
payment priority over the Family Support Division's order
to withhold, thereby resulting in reversible error.