House Torn Down In Protest of Taxes
by Piet Bennett
Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP) — “I’ll never have another house again,” says a factory worker who protested his tax assessment by razing the home it took him seven years to build from scrap lumber.
“I will not pay for something I do not have,” Edward Koryto, 50, said as he sat amid the rubble of his home in Plainfield Township just north of Grand Rapids.
Koryto said he decided to level his house on the Grand River after its assessed value was raised by $6,800 this year.
The house was 85 per cent completed, Koryto said, but township officials fixed its market value at $11,200. An appeal lowered the evaluation by $900 but Koryto contended that meant taxes of about $250 per year, a 150 per cent increase.
Bernie Dice, the township’s tax assessor, insisted that he believed Koryto’s home was worth more than $10,000 under Michigan law. Taxes are paid on half the assessed value of property. Plainfield Township’s tax rate is $50 per thousand.
Dice said Koryto’s home had been valued at $4,400 since 1964 under a partial assessment.
“He’s just incensed that we caught up with him and put a valid assessment on it,” Dice contended.
But Koryto, who reported his assessed value had been increased by small amounts in the past, insisted his house was not worth $10,000. He claimed it was assessed for “more than the house ever thought of being worth.”
Koryto, a molder at Michigan Wheel Co. in Grand Rapids, had a friend help him raze the four-room house he had created by working nights and weekends. During the month of demolition, Koryto has lived with friends and searched for an apartment.
Koryto has other complaints about the township. He mentioned the annual spring floods, the untouched rubble of a burned out home down the road and junked cars.
“They must think I’m in a beautiful neighborhood the way they’re trying to charge me top dollar,” he complained. “You work hard and everything else and the rest of the neighborhood is just left untouched, and you just give up.”
Complaints to township officials were “just ignored,” the workman contended.
Koryto died in .