State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, No. 36994.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtDouglas
Citation153 S.W.2d 31
PartiesSTATE OF MISSOURI at the relation of the CITY OF ST. LOUIS, a Municipal Corporation, Relator, v. WILLIAM F. BAUMANN, as Collector of Revenue of the City of St. Louis.
Decision Date10 June 1941
Docket NumberNo. 36994.
153 S.W.2d 31
STATE OF MISSOURI at the relation of the CITY OF ST. LOUIS, a Municipal Corporation, Relator,
v.
WILLIAM F. BAUMANN, as Collector of Revenue of the City of St. Louis.
No. 36994.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
Court en Banc, June 10, 1941.
Rehearing Denied, June 30, 1941.

[153 S.W.2d 33]

Mandamus.

PEREMPTORY WRIT ISSUED.

Edgar H. Wayman and Francis Finley for relator.

(1) Mandamus is the proper remedy to compel the collector to execute and deliver a deed. State ex rel. Crutcher v. Koeln, 61 S.W. (2d) 750, 322 Mo. 1229; State ex rel. Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Markway, 110 S.W. (2d) 1118, 341 Mo. 976; 38 C.J. 784. (2) The rule of strict construction as to tax exemption has no application to the property of municipal corporations. City of Laurel v. Weems, 100 Miss. 335, 56 So. 451, 31 Ann. Cas. 159. (3) General tax laws do not apply to the State or its municipal corporations. Art. X, Sec. 6, Mo. Const.; Sec. 9743, R.S. 1929; Van Brocklin v. State, 117 U.S. 151, 6 Sup. Ct. 670, 29 L. Ed. 845; Laret Inv. Co. v. Dickmann, 134 S.W. (2d) 65; State v. Snokomish County, 71 Wash. 320, 128 Pac. 667; Gachet v. New Orleans, 52 La. Ann. 813, 27 So. 348. (4) In acquiring property a municipality acquires it free from existing tax liens and exempt from taxes, and therefore the City of St. Louis is entitled to a collector's deed without paying taxes for the years 1914 to 1929. Art. X, Sec. 6, Mo. Const.; Sec. 9743, R.S. 1929; Laret Inv. Co. v. Dickmann, 134 S.W. (2d) 65; Laurel v. Weems, 100 Miss. 335, 56 So. 451, Ann. Cas. 1914A, 159; Foster v. Duluth, 120 Minn. 484, 48 L.R.A. (N.S.) 707, 140 N.W. 129; State v. Locke, 29 N.M. 148, 219 Pac. 790, 30 A.L.R. 407; Gachet v. New Orleans, 52 La. Ann. 813, 27 So. 348; Alvis v. Hicks, 50 Miss. 306, 116 So. 612; Lancaster County v. Trimble, 34 Neb. 752, 52 N.W. 711. (5) The city is entitled to a collector's deed without paying taxes for the years 1937 to 1939, for when the city purchased the property in question and received the collector's certificate therefor the property became exempt from taxation. (a) When the city purchased the property and received the collector's certificate the city had an equitable title to the property. Curtis Land & Loan Co. v. Interior Land Co., 118 N.W. 853, 137 Wis. 341; Coe v. Manseau, 62 Wis. 81, 22 N.W. 155; Lessee of Rice v. Apollos White, 8 Ohio, 216; Dolph v. Barney, 5 Ore. 191, affirmed 97 U.S. 652, 24 L. Ed. 1063; Eager v. Pugh, 253 Pac. 41, 123 Okla. 207; Wilson v. Wood, 10 Okla. 279, 61 Pac. 1045; Municipal Acceptance Corp. v. Canole 119 S.W. (2d) 820, 342 Mo. 1170. (b) The city holding equitable title to the property in question, held it exempt from taxation. Mo. Const., Sec. 6, Art. X; R.S. 1929, sec. 9743; 2 Cooley on Taxation (4 Ed.), pp. 1419, 1420, sec. 677; Anne Arundel County Comrs. v. Mayor, etc., of Annapolis, 126 Md. 445, 95 Atl. 40; Wichita v. Anderson, 237 Pac. 1024, 119 Kan. 241. (2) Where a municipal corporation purchases lands for delinquent taxes it is unnecessary for it to pay any taxes. Lancaster County v. Trimble, 34 Neb. 752, 52 N.W. 711; Wichita v. Anderson, 237 Pac. 1024, 119 Kan. 241; Art. X, Sec. 6, Mo. Const.; Sec. 9743, R.S. 1929; Laret Inv. Co. v. Dickmann, 134 S.W. (2d) 65. (6) The Legislature, by the Laws of 1933, page 440, Section 9957-C, did not intend to ignore the constitutional exemption of municipalities, and this is made plain by Laws of 1939, page 850. Laws 1939, p. 850, sec. 1; Sec. 9953b, R.S. 1929, Annotated 1939 Pocket Part, p. 8000; Grand River Drain. Dist. v. Reid, 111 S.W. (2d) 151, 341 Mo. 1246.

James A. Waechter and Donald Gunn for respondent.

Relator city has not acquired, by virtue of the certificate of purchase, such an interest in the real estate in question as to bring it within relator's constitutional and statutory exemption from taxation. Laws 1933, p. 425; Donohue v. Veal, 19 Mo. 331; Kohle v. Hobson, 215 Mo. 213, 114 S.W. 952; 3 Cooley on Taxation (4 Ed.), p. 2934; In re Singer, 7 Atl. 800; Woodland Oil Co. v. Shoup, 107 Pa. St. 293; Keller v. Hawk, 19 Okla. 407, 91 Pac. 778; Wilson v. Matson, 177 Pac. 746; Douglas v. Dickson, 31 Kan. 310, 1 Pac. 541; Spratt v. Price, 18 Fla. 289; Boardman v. Boozewinkel, 121 Mich. 320; Stephens v. Holmes, 26 Ark. 48; State ex rel. Trust Co. v. Godfrey, 56 N.E. 482; Hibbard v. Brown, 51 Ala. 469; 2 Blackwell on Tax Titles, pp. 907, 912; Sec. 3014, R.S. 1929; St. Louis v. Wenneker, 145 Mo. 230, 47 S.W. 105; State ex rel. McKinney v. Davidson, 286 S.W. 355; Millerson v. Doherty, 241 S.W. 907; The People v. University of Ill., 328 Ill. 377, 159 N.E. 811.

George E. Woodruff, amicus curiae.

DOUGLAS, J.


This is an original action in mandamus brought by the City of St. Louis against its collector of revenue to compel him to make a deed conveying to the City certain land bought at a tax sale held under the provisions of the Jones-Munger Act of 1933. [Sec. 11117, R.S. 1939 et seq., Mo. Stat. Ann., sec. 9945, p. 7988.] This act was applicable to the City only for a short period because in 1939 it was amended so as to take the city and counties of a certain population out of its provisions. [Sec. 11183, R.S. 1939, sec. 9952a-1, p. 7995 et seq.] But this controversy arose while the law was yet applicable to the City.

[1] A proceeding in mandamus is the proper remedy to compel the action sought. [State ex rel. Crutcher v. Koeln, 332 Mo. 1229, 61 S.W. (2d) 750; State ex rel. Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Markway, 341 Mo. 976, 110 S.W. (2d) 1118.]

The land involved is a city lot in St. Louis. It was advertised for sale because of taxes delinquent for 1930 to 1935. After being twice offered for sale in the two previous years with no bid, the lot was offered for sale the third time in 1937 and the City was the highest bidder for the sum of $80 and received a certificate of purchase to the lot. The two-year redemption period elapsed in 1939 without the lot being redeemed. Thereafter the City presented its certificate and demanded a deed from the collector under Sec. 11149, R.S. 1939, which provides: "If no person shall redeem the lands sold for taxes within two years from the sale, at the expiration thereof, and on production of certificate of purchase, ... the collector of the county in which the sale of such lands took place shall execute to the purchaser, his heirs or assigns, in the name of the state, a conveyance of the real estate so sold, which shall vest in the grantee an absolute estate in fee simple, subject, however, to all claims thereon for unpaid taxes... ." The collector refused to execute a deed unless the City would first pay him (a) the sum of $812.71 for taxes due from 1914 to 1929 and (b) the sum of $178.14 for taxes due after 1937 and during the...

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15 practice notes
  • K.C. 1986 Ltd. Partnership v. Reade Mfg., No. 93-1062-CV-W-5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • September 16, 1998
    ...Reinhold v. Fee Fee Trunk Sewer, Inc., 664 S.W.2d 599, 603 (Mo.App.1984) (citing State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, 348 Mo. 164, 153 S.W.2d 31 (1941)). By citing case law regarding equitable title, Borax is effectively arguing that Hardee's held an equitable lease at the time of Te......
  • State ex rel. Baumann v. Marburger, No. 38941.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • July 3, 1944
    ...351 Mo. 587, 173 S.W. 2d 753; Hobson v. Elmer, 349 Mo. 1131, 163 S.W. 2d 1020; State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, 348 Mo. 164, 153 S.W. 2d 31. The record owner continues the owner of the legal title and has the right of redemption which he, or any other persons having an interest i......
  • Home Bldg. Corp. v. Ventura Corp., No. 59980
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 24, 1978
    ...this prevented HBC from establishing a lien on its property, Authority cites State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, 348 Mo. 164, 153 S.W.2d 31 (banc 1941) and State ex rel. Smith v. City of Springfield, 375 S.W.2d 84 (Mo. banc 1964). Those cases held that acquisition of equitable title......
  • Adams v. Smith, No. 41722
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 11, 1950
    ...interest in the property. Hamilton v. Linn, 355 Mo. 1178, 200 S.W.2d 69; State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, 348 Mo. 164, 153 S.W.2d 31; and Waugh v. Williams, 342 Mo. 903, 119 S.W.2d 223. And they are entitled to offset against the purchase price what they expended in acquiring the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • K.C. 1986 Ltd. Partnership v. Reade Mfg., No. 93-1062-CV-W-5.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • September 16, 1998
    ...Reinhold v. Fee Fee Trunk Sewer, Inc., 664 S.W.2d 599, 603 (Mo.App.1984) (citing State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, 348 Mo. 164, 153 S.W.2d 31 (1941)). By citing case law regarding equitable title, Borax is effectively arguing that Hardee's held an equitable lease at the time of Te......
  • State ex rel. Baumann v. Marburger, No. 38941.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • July 3, 1944
    ...351 Mo. 587, 173 S.W. 2d 753; Hobson v. Elmer, 349 Mo. 1131, 163 S.W. 2d 1020; State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, 348 Mo. 164, 153 S.W. 2d 31. The record owner continues the owner of the legal title and has the right of redemption which he, or any other persons having an interest i......
  • Home Bldg. Corp. v. Ventura Corp., No. 59980
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 24, 1978
    ...this prevented HBC from establishing a lien on its property, Authority cites State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, 348 Mo. 164, 153 S.W.2d 31 (banc 1941) and State ex rel. Smith v. City of Springfield, 375 S.W.2d 84 (Mo. banc 1964). Those cases held that acquisition of equitable title......
  • Adams v. Smith, No. 41722
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 11, 1950
    ...interest in the property. Hamilton v. Linn, 355 Mo. 1178, 200 S.W.2d 69; State ex rel. City of St. Louis v. Baumann, 348 Mo. 164, 153 S.W.2d 31; and Waugh v. Williams, 342 Mo. 903, 119 S.W.2d 223. And they are entitled to offset against the purchase price what they expended in acquiring the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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