An 89-year-old woman in New Jersey suffering from Alzheimer’s disease came days away from losing her home of 50 years because she owed six cents in back taxes.
Glen Kristi Goldenthal’s home was put up for sale by Ocean Township officials on September 9 after the tiny debt she owed on her taxes snowballed to more than $300 with interest and administrative fees piling up.
The story gained national attention after the woman’s daughter Lisa Suhay took to social media, slamming the city’s handling of the situation in a video.
Suhay, who lives in Virginia, criticized the city’s lack of imagination for failing to raise six pennies ‘in an office full of people’ to cover her mother’s debt.
‘I understand this is state law, but the township really has to bear responsibility for how they handle this,’ Suhay said.
‘Shame on anybody who can’t think far outside the box enough to come up with six cents in an office full of people. You can’t pull a dime out of your pocket?’
The author said she only learned of her mother’s situation when the house was put up for sale by the city.
Glen Kristi Goldenthal was a day away from being evicted after Ocean Township officials put her house up for sale because she owed six cents in back taxes
‘She’s called me dozens of times in the last 24 hours: “Is my house gonna be OK? Do I have to pack? Where am I gonna go live?”‘ Suhay told WNBC, adding that while her mother received one warning call, she forgot because of Alzheimer’s.
‘Apparently the tax collector called her because when I talked to him, he said he realized there was something wrong, that she didn’t understand,’ Suhay said.
‘[I said] I’m sorry, you’re selling my mother’s house today because she owes you six cents. He said yeah, it’s amazing how these things snowball. … I was like, “It’s six cents!”‘
Goldenthal’s furious daughter Lisa Suhay took to social media, slamming the city’s handling of the situation in a video (pictured) in which she called city officials ‘pieces of human refuse’
Suhay quickly contacted the mayor of Ocean Township – Christopher Siciliano – who apologized for the situation.
‘Naturally it’s really embarrassing the town would put someone’s home up for sale over six cents,’ Siciliano said. ‘It’s silly.’
‘You can keep paying that quarterly payment, but the back payment triggers an amount that eventually can cause a tax sale,’ said Siciliano. ‘This is all computer-generated, not something that a human can correct.’
Goldenthal’s daughter said she paid off her mother’s debt and the house was taken off the market, but was infuriated that the system allowed it to be put up in the first place.
‘How many people during a pandemic, or any other time, are being victimized by this greedy, broken system?’ Suhay said.
In a video posted to TikTok, a clearly furious Suhay explained the situation in order to raise awareness of her mother’s situation.
‘Today, I spent the entire day saving her home from a tax sale that was happening today that she didn’t want to tell me about because she has Alzheimer’s – so half the time she didn’t even remember it was happening, and the other half of the time she was too terrified to tell me and too ashamed and too afraid and too worried,’ she said.
89-year-old Goldenthal had lived in her New Jersey home (pictured) for 50 years before it was put on the market on September 9 after the tiny debt she owed on her taxes snowballed to more than $300 with interest and administrative fees piling up
‘A tax sale – for an 89-year-old woman’s home – in the middle of a pandemic. And do you want to know how much my mother owed? Six cents. Six pennies. And for that, they put her house up for sale today. They also charged her almost 400 dollars in fees.
‘They charged her to put the notice in the paper to sell her home – you pieces of human refuse.’
Mayor Siciliano has said he has contacted state officials to create legislation allowing there be limits on how much is owed before a tax sale is triggered. ‘The system needs to be overhauled. We don’t want to be putting houses up for a tax sales for six cents,’ Siciliano said.
The mayor has reached out to New Jersey Senator Vin Gopal, who confirmed that he was contacted by the mayor, adding that he has started drafting a bill earlier in the week that would create a threshold of perhaps as high as $100 before a tax sale can be triggered.