Bader Realty & Inv. V. St. Louis Housing Auth., 41279.

CourtMissouri Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtConkling
Citation217 S.W.2d 489
PartiesBADER REALTY AND INVESTMENT COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellant, of St. Louis; RICHARD E. GRUNER, as Collector of the City of St. LOUIS, a Municipal Corporation; EUGENE M. GUISE, as Assessor of the City of St. Louis; LOUIS NOLTE, as Comptroller of the City of St. Louis; RICHARD E. GRUNER, as Collector of the City of S.t Louis, Respondents.
Decision Date20 January 1949
Docket Number41279.
217 S.W.2d 489
BADER REALTY AND INVESTMENT COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellant, of St. Louis; RICHARD E. GRUNER, as Collector of the City of St. LOUIS, a Municipal Corporation; EUGENE M. GUISE, as Assessor of the City of St. Louis; LOUIS NOLTE, as Comptroller of the City of St. Louis; RICHARD E. GRUNER, as Collector of the City of S.t Louis, Respondents.
41279.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
Court en Banc, January 20, 1949.

Appeal from Circuit Court of City of St. Louis.Hon. Joseph J. Ward, Judge.

[217 S.W.2d 490]

AFFIRMED.

Robert W. Herr for plaintiff-appellant.

(1) The properties of the defendant St. Louis Housing Authority are subject to and not exempt from ad valorem and sales taxes under the Constitution and the Revised Statutes of Missouri, because the properties of such Housing Authority are not used for purposes purely charitable. Exemptions from taxation are in derogation of equal rights and are not favored by the courts, but must be strictly construed against the property owner and in favor of the public. The burden is on the person claiming tax exemption to show beyond a reasonable doubt that he is entitled thereto. Art. X, Sec. 6, 1945 Constitution of Missouri; Sec. 10492.4, 4, R.S. 1939, as amended; Salvation Army v. Hoehn, 188 S.W. (2d) 826; Fitterer v. Crawford, 157 Mo. 51, 57 S.W. 532; Spillers v. Johnston, 214 Mo. 656; In re First Natl. Safe Deposit Co., 351 Mo. 423, 173 S.W. (2d) 403. (2) The right to exemption from taxation is grounded entirely upon the use made of the property sought to be exempted and not upon the motive of the property owner nor the character of the organization nor the purposes for which it was organized or incorporated. The fact that the purposes of the defendant Housing Authority may be benevolent, worthy and highly desirable is of no consequence in determining its claim to tax exemption, and the only test to be applied is the use made by such Housing Authority of its properties. Under this test, the Housing Authority clearly is not entitled to the claimed tax exemptions. Evangelical Lutheran Synod v. Hoehn, 355 Mo. 257, 196 S.W. (2d) 134; Salvation Army v. Hoehn, 354 Mo. 107, 188 S.W. (2d) 826; Young Men's Christian Assn. v. Gehner, 329 Mo. 1007, 47 S.W. (2d) 776; Y.M.C.A. of Germantown v. City of Philadelphia, 323 Pa. 401, 187 Atl. 704; Goodwill Industries v. Gruner, 210 S.W. (2d) 38; Art. 36, Chap. 38, R.S. 1939, Secs. 7853 through 7875. (3) The bonds, obligations, commitments, contracts and indentures of the defendant Housing Authority are debts and obligations of the defendant City of St. Louis and will constitute an indenbtedness of the defendant City of St. Louis contrary to the plain provisions of the Constitution of Missouri.

George L. Stemmler, City Counselor, and John P. McCammon, Associate City Counselor, for defendants-respondents.

These respondents adopt the statement of the appellant, and the brief and argument of the respondent St. Louis Housing Authority.

Paul J. Kaceney and R.M. Stout for defendant-respondent St. Louis Housing Authority.

(1) The properties of the defendant Housing Authority are used for purposes purely charitable and therefore are exempt from all taxes, ad valorem and excise. Missouri Goodwill Industries, etc., v. Gruner, Collector, 210 S.W. (2d) 38; Salvation Army v. Hoehn, Assessor, 354 Mo. 107, 188 S.W. (2d) 826; Springfield Housing Authority v. Overaker, Collector, 390 Ill. 403, 61 N.E. 373; Krause v. Peoria Housing Authority, 370 Ill. 356, 19 N.E. (2d) 193; Williamson v. Housing Authority of Augusta, 186 Ga. 673, 199 S.E. 43; Hogue v. Housing Authority of No. Little Rock, 144 S.W. (2d) 49; In re Burroughs Estate, 206 S.W. (2d) 340; People ex rel. Nelson, v. Rockford Masonic Home, 348 Ill. 567, 181 N.E. 428. (2) Tax exemption to a Housing Authority is also arrived at under a Constitution and statutes by reason of a public use and public purpose. Dornan v. Philadelphia Housing Authority, 331 Pa. 209, 200 Atl. 834; Knoxville Housing Authority v. City of Knoxville, 174 Tenn. 76, 123 S.W. (2d) 1085. (3) Bonds and obligations of the St. Louis Housing Authority are not debts or obligations of defendant City of St. Louis. Sec 7866, R.S. 1939; Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. White's Estate, 144 F. (2d) 1019; Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Schamberg's Estate, 144 F. (2d) 998; Laret Inv. Co. v. Dickmann, 134 S.W. (2d) 65, 345 Mo. 449.

David M. Proctor, City Counselor, and John J. Cosgrove, Assistant City Counselor, for intervenor, Kansas City, Missouri.

The Housing Authority furnishes housing for a price considerably lower than what the house would ordinarily bring. To that extent it is doing charity.

CONKLING, J.


This is an action for a declaratory judgment that the prior tax exempt status of defendant-respondent St. Louis Housing Authority shall no longer continue. The Chancellor adjudged all the property of Housing Authority to be tax exempt. Plaintiff appealed.

Plaintiff is a taxpayer and the owner and operator of many parcels of improved real estate in the City of St. Louis. In addition to the St. Louis Housing Authority, the City of St. Louis, its Assessor, Comptroller and Collector were also made defendants.

Judgment was sought declaring that since the effective date of our 1945 Constitution all real and personal property of Housing Authority has been subject to the payment of ad valorem taxes; that bonds of Housing Authority are debts of the City of St. Louis within the meaning of Sections 26, 27 and 28 of Article VI of the Constitution and that it is the duty of the City Assessor, Comptroller and Collector to proceed to collect the above mentioned taxes.

Defendants City of St. Louis, its Assessor and Collector by their joint answer asked the court to find plaintiff was not entitled to the relief prayed; in its separate answer Housing Authority asked the same; but the City Comptroller in his separate answer prayed the court to adjudge that Housing Authority's property was subject to ad valorem taxes. The City of Kansas City was permitted to intervene and file answer. At the request of the St. Louis Real Estate Board D. Calhoun Jones, Esq. was appointed Amicus Curiae.

The cause was submitted to the court below upon the pleadings, an agreed statement of facts and exhibits. The court adjudged that all of Housing Authority's properties are exclusively used "for purposes purely charitable" under Section 6 of Article X, of the Constitution and Mo. R.S.A. 10942.4, and are exempt from all ad valorem taxes; that the bonds of Housing Authority are not debts or obligations of the City of St. Louis, said bonds being authorized by Mo. R.S.A. Sec. 7866.

Upon stipulation the cause was submitted here without argument upon the briefs filed by appellant and Housing Authority. In the two page brief of the City of St. Louis, its Assessor and Collector, the only citations are from the Bard of Avon. In the two page brief of the intervenor we are cited only to the New Testament.

In Laret Inv. Co. v. Dickmann, 345 Mo. 449, 134 S.W. (2d) 65, decided in 1939 under the provisions of our Constitution of 1875, we held the property of Housing Authority tax exempt as the property of a "municipal corporation" within the meaning of that term as used in the 1875 Constitution. But plaintiff now contends that the property of Housing Authority is not used "for purposes purely charitable"; that under our present Constitution it is not a "political subdivision" and, therefore, its property is subject to ad valorem taxation. Housing Authority was organized under Mo. R.S.A. Secs. 7853 to 7875, inclusive, and ordinances of the City of St. Louis.

In exercising its functions in the City of St. Louis. Housing Authority has caused to be...

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42 practice notes
  • St. Joseph's Living Ctr. v. Town of Windham, No. 17916.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 24 Marzo 2009
    ...more likely that they will become useful citizens. Bader Realty & Investment Co. v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 358 Mo. 747, 752, 217 S.W.2d 489 [1949]. Charity embraces anything that tends to promote the well-doing and the well-being of social man. [Id.] An institution is charitable w......
  • United Church of Christ v. Town of West Hartford, No. 13127
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 29 Marzo 1988
    ...more likely that they will become useful citizens. Bader Realty & Investment Co. v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 358 Mo. 747, 752, 217 S.W.2d 489 [1949]. Charity embraces anything that tends to promote the well-doing and the well-being of social man. Ibid. An institution is charitable w......
  • Blankenship v. City of Decatur, 8 Div. 984
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 5 Noviembre 1959
    ...Corp. v. City of Detroit, 322 Mich. 495, 33 N.W.2d 919; Bader Realty & Investment Co. v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 358 Mo. 747, 217 S.W.2d 489; Amalgamated Housing Corp. v. Kelly, 193 Misc. 961, 82 N.Y.S.2d 577. See, also, 172 A.L.R. notes 967, 970 et 'Our conclusion is that the plan......
  • Laverents v. City of Cheyenne, No. 2464
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 25 Abril 1950
    ...Dairy Stores v. Lexington Market Authority, Md., 67 A.2d 490, Bader Realty & Inv. Co. v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 358 Mo. 747, 217 S.W.2d 489, Selle v. City of Henderson, 309 Ky. 599, 218 S.W.2d 645. See also Vol. 11, Words and Phrases, Perm.Ed., p. 304, under the term 'debt', 38 Am......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • St. Joseph's Living Ctr. v. Town of Windham, No. 17916.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 24 Marzo 2009
    ...and more likely that they will become useful citizens. Bader Realty & Investment Co. v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 358 Mo. 747, 752, 217 S.W.2d 489 [1949]. Charity embraces anything that tends to promote the well-doing and the well-being of social man. [Id.] An institution is charitable w......
  • United Church of Christ v. Town of West Hartford, No. 13127
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 29 Marzo 1988
    ...and more likely that they will become useful citizens. Bader Realty & Investment Co. v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 358 Mo. 747, 752, 217 S.W.2d 489 [1949]. Charity embraces anything that tends to promote the well-doing and the well-being of social man. Ibid. An institution is charitable w......
  • Blankenship v. City of Decatur, 8 Div. 984
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • 5 Noviembre 1959
    ...Corp. v. City of Detroit, 322 Mich. 495, 33 N.W.2d 919; Bader Realty & Investment Co. v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 358 Mo. 747, 217 S.W.2d 489; Amalgamated Housing Corp. v. Kelly, 193 Misc. 961, 82 N.Y.S.2d 577. See, also, 172 A.L.R. notes 967, 970 et 'Our conclusion is that the plan con......
  • Laverents v. City of Cheyenne, No. 2464
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 25 Abril 1950
    ...Farms Dairy Stores v. Lexington Market Authority, Md., 67 A.2d 490, Bader Realty & Inv. Co. v. St. Louis Housing Authority, 358 Mo. 747, 217 S.W.2d 489, Selle v. City of Henderson, 309 Ky. 599, 218 S.W.2d 645. See also Vol. 11, Words and Phrases, Perm.Ed., p. 304, under the term 'debt', 38 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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