140 F.2d 286 (7th Cir. 1944), 8333, United States v. City of Milwaukee

Docket Nº:8333.
Citation:140 F.2d 286
Party Name:UNITED STATES et al. v. CITY OF MILWAUKEE et al.
Case Date:January 20, 1944
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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140 F.2d 286 (7th Cir. 1944)




No. 8333.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

January 20, 1944

Walter J. Mattison, Omar T. McMahon, James J. Kerwin, O. L. O'Boyle, and C. Stanley Perry, all of Milwaukee, Wis., for appellants.

B. J. Husting and E. H. Koelzer, both of Milwaukee, Wis., Norman M. Littell, Vernon L. Wilkinson, and Thomas L. McKevitt, Department of Justice, all of Washington, D.C., for appellees.

Before EVANS, SPARKS, and MAJOR, Circuit Judges.

MAJOR, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a judgment entered April 17, 1943, in a suit instituted by the United States and the Federal Public Housing Authority to obtain a declaratory judgment establishing the tax exempt status of property owned by plaintiffs and used as a site for a low-cost housing project. Injunctive relief was also sought to prevent the threatened collection of past and future tax assessments. Both sides moved for judgment on the pleadings, and the judgment appealed from provided the relief sought by plaintiffs.

The essential allegations of the complaint are: (1) ownership by the plaintiffs of certain real estate designated as Parklawn, situated in the city of Milwaukee; (2) the property's tax immunity status; (3) the existence of tax assessments against the land on the tax rolls of defendants, and (4) defendants' intention to enforce such taxes. Defendants, by answers, admitted plaintiffs' title to the property and the absence of an adequate remedy at law. As a defense to the relief sought, they alleged in substance: (1) the acquirement of title in 1935 by the United States Government

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from private individuals or corporations which for many years prior thereto had paid taxes upon such property; (2) the use of such property by plaintiffs since 1937 as a housing project; (3) the furnishing by defendants of services, such as fire and police protection, hospital facilities and an educational system by the city and state to the occupants of the project; (4) the state laws concerning the taxation of real property, particularly c. 86, Wis. Laws 1941, specifically excluding from the tax exempt list property of the United States or its instrumentalities used for residential income producing purposes; (5) the absence of exclusive federal jurisdiction over the property concerned; and (6) certain negotiations between the city of Milwaukee and the United States Housing Authority in connection with proposed payments in lieu of taxes.

It is further disclosed that the property involved was purchased pursuant to the authority of Title II, Sec. 203 of the National Recovery Act of June 16, 1933, 48 Stat. 202, 40 U.S.C.A. § 403. Thereafter, the United States, first through the Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works and later through the United States Housing Authority, constructed...

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