Detroiters protest county treasurer's home to stop foreclosures

Detroit homeowners are accusing the city of overtaxing their homes and breaking the law. Now they try a Hail Mary to save their homes.

On Thursday, dozens rallied outside the home of Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree, chanting 'Who's city? Our City'. They hope to stop the sale of occupied homes due to go into tax foreclosure next week.

Wayne State Professor Bernadette Atuahene said that homeowners just want a fair shake.

"People need to pay taxes but they need to pay their fair taxes. We want to make sure no one was being charged illegal taxes."

The peaceful protesters say the poorest Detroiters have been getting the shaft and claim the city has been illegally overassessing their homes.

"We found that the lowest valued homes, over 95% of those homes were being assessed in violation of the Michigan constitution," Atuahene said. "It's not equal amongst all Detroiters. Detroiters with the lowest valued homes are subject to these unconstitutional property tax assessments."

Protest organizers didn't blame the treasurer directly, but say he has the power to put a stop it until the issue can be sorted out.

Sabree argues that he's bound by a state statute.

"It's kind of ridiculous to come to my house when I'm the one that's helping people more than anybody," Sabree said.

"These homes are going on the auction Tuesday. The only one who has the power to stop this magnifying of the problem is Eric Sabree. Obviously, the core of the problem, starts in the assessment division," Atuahene said

The city's assessment office sent FOX 2 a statement in response to the protests:

"In each of the past four years, the majority of Detroit homeowners have received double-digit assessment reductions. To ensure that assessments in the city of Detroit are fair and reflect current market conditions, we have conducted the most intensive parcel-by-parcel re-appraisal in the history of the state of Michigan.

The city also says every property owner has the right to challenge their assessment. They also believe the statistics cited by the protesters are flawed.