Property Owner Seeks Tax Protest to Force Change for Drug and Homelessness on Mass/Cass

Attorney Tom McAndrew said he has owned 9-17 Harcourt St. in the St. Botolph area for more than 10 years, and with the homelessness and drug use issues leaking over in greater numbers from Mass/Cass, he’s suggesting resi-dents and property owners join him in withholding payment of property taxes.

“I’d like to put a coalition of people together in and around the community and cooperate in withholding our property tax dollars to the City until they fulfill their duties as public servants,” he said. “It’s millions of dollars we’re talking about. It’s a very significant area and a lovely area for people and families over many, many years until recently. I’d love to get 100 percent participation. I’m not talking about not paying taxes. I want to be responsible. We would put it into escrow or a bank fund until the mayor and city councilors fulfill their duties.”

McAndrew said he doesn’t live in the building, but his daughter does and he is very worried for her safety for the first time ever. He indicated there have been minor problems in the past, but now it is an everyday occurrence. There are needles all over the property, and people sleep in front of the doorway. Also, there are frequent episodes of public defecation on the property, and his tenants have often reported men staying in the area and taking their pants off.

“This is the first time we’re really had this bad of an issue,” he said. “This has become a course of conduct. It was occasional in the past, but now we’re talk-ing about a course of conduct. This issue is being neglected by public officials and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

He said he has written countless letters to Mayor Martin Walsh, and he’s also written to City Councilors. He said Councilor Ed Flynn has been the only one to respond, but he hasn’t seen much progress, and actually the situation has got-ten worse in the last month.

“I believe in a safety net and we need a safety net and I think they should help these folks out there,” he said. “But they need to help those who need help and they need to focus on the people who create havoc.”

He said the only answer he can come up with to get attention is a property tax protest.

“The only thing they respond to is money, losing money,” he said. “Let’s all put our taxes in escrow. We’ll be responsible, but they have to be responsible too. It’s has to be two ways. I would encourage anyone to go into Superior Court and file a mandamus that compels these City officials to perform their jobs.”

He said anyone who would like to join him in the property tax protest can con-tact him by e-mail at:  [email protected]

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