United States v. A CERTAIN PARCEL OF LAND, ETC.

Decision Date13 June 1944
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 6581.
Citation59 F. Supp. 65
PartiesUNITED STATES v. A CERTAIN PARCEL OF LAND WITH BUILDINGS THEREON KNOWN AS HOTEL BUCKMINSTER, IN CITY OF BOSTON, et al.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Massachusetts

Edmund J. Brandon, U. S. Atty., and Philip P. A. O'Connell, Sp. Asst. U. S. Atty., both of Boston, Mass., for plaintiff.

William H. Kerr, Samuel S. Dennis, Asst. Corp. Counsel, and Robert H. Hopkins, Corp. Counsel, of Boston, Mass., for City of Boston.

Richardson, Wolcott, Patten & Bennett and G. K. Richardson, all of Boston, Mass., for John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co.

Frank J. Murray, Asst. Corp. Counsel, and Edward E. Cohen, both of Boston, Mass., for Carlton Hotel, Inc., and Thomas J. Casey, trustee, and Merritt Thompson, Collector of Taxes for City of Boston.

J. C. Johnston, of Boston, Mass., for Thomas J. Casey, trustee Carlton-Hotel, Inc.

Hirsh Freed, of Boston, Mass., for Merritt Thompson, Collector of Taxes for City of Boston.

William E. Bennett, of Boston, Mass., for Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland.

HEALEY, District Judge.

By this petition, the Collector of Taxes for the City of Boston seeks the distribution to him of the amount due for certain real estate taxes assessed against property now occupied by the United States Government under a taking for a term of years, and the charges due for water used prior to such occupancy.

The facts are agreed, and are as follows:

"The provisions of Mass.Gen.Laws Ter. Ed. c. 40, §§ 42A to 42F inclusive, the so-called Water Lien Statute, have been applicable to the City of Boston since September 12, 1923 when the City Clerk of the City of Boston filed with Suffolk Deeds, Book 4486, Page 630, a certificate of the vote of the City Council of Boston passed on September 10, 1923 and approved by the Mayor of Boston on September 11, 1923 accepting the same.

"The City of Boston acting through the Water Division of its Public Works Department supplied water to the real estate at 645 Beacon Street, corner of Brookline Avenue, Boston, from October 3, 1941 to September 1, 1942, at the request of the owner, Carlton Hotel, Inc.

"Bills for the water so supplied were rendered periodically to Carlton Hotel, Inc. as follows:

                Period Covered                 Quantity Used     Amount of Bill     Due Date
                 Oct. 3, 1941-Jan. 9, 1942     383,000 cu. ft.      $611.36       Feb. 15, 1942
                 Jan. 9, 1942-April 9, 1942    340,000 cu. ft.       545.00       May  15, 1942
                 April 9, 1942-July 3, 1942    338,000 cu. ft.       541.84       Aug. 15, 1942
                 July 3, 1942-Sept. 1, 1942    228,000 cu. ft.       368.04       Nov. 16, 1942
                

"The aforesaid water rates have never been paid.

"On February 12, 1943 the officer in charge of the water department of the City of Boston, namely, the Commissioner of Public Works, filed for record with Suffolk Deeds, Book 6030, Page 1, the statement required under Mass.Gen.Laws (Ter. Ed.) c. 40, § 42B, as amended by Mass.St. 1941, c. 380, § 2, to perfect the lien for the aforesaid unpaid water rates; and thereupon there was added to the total thereof the sum of one dollar as provided by Mass. Gen.Laws (Ter.Ed.) c. 40, § 42D, as amended by Mass.St.1941, c. 380, § 4.

"On June 1, 1943, when the Assessors of the City of Boston (hereinafter called the Assessors) were preparing the next real estate tax list and warrant to be committed by them under Mass.Gen.Laws (Ter. Ed.) c. 59, § 53, after said February 12, 1943, the Commissioner of Public Works certified the aforesaid unpaid water account to the Assessors. Thereupon the Assessors forthwith added such account to the real estate tax on the property at 645 Beacon Street, corner of Brookline Avenue, Boston, and committed it as a part of such tax on the date hereinafter stated, with their warrant, to the Collector of Taxes for the City of Boston.

"In their annual valuation list for the year 1942 the Assessors included the real estate at 645 Beacon Street, corner of Brookline Avenue, Boston, at a valuation of $325,000, and duly assessed to Carlton Hotel, Inc. on such real estate a tax of $13,325 as of January 1, 1942. Thereupon on June 16, 1942, the Assessors committed their annual tax list (which included the aforesaid tax of $13,325) with their warrant to the Collector of Taxes for the City of Boston. On November 2, 1942 the sum of $9,360 was paid on account of said tax. On February 9, 1943, in accordance with Mass.Gen.Laws (Ter.Ed.) c. 60, § 16, due demand was made upon the Carlton Hotel, Inc. for the payment of said balance of $3,965, together with interest thereon and the costs relative thereto; but the balance of $3,965, together with interest thereon and costs relative thereto, remains unpaid.

"In their annual valuation list for the year 1943 the Assessors included the real estate at 645 Beacon Street, corner of Brookline Avenue, Boston, at a valuation of $325,000, and duly assessed as of January 1, 1943 to the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company on such real estate a tax of $13,325 and added thereto, as aforesaid, the aforesaid unpaid water account of $2,067.24, making a total tax of $15,392.24. Thereupon on June 14, 1943 the Assessors committed their annual tax list (which included the aforesaid tax of $15,392.24) with their warrant to the Collector of Taxes for the City of Boston. On January 31, 1944, in accordance with Mass.Gen.Laws (Ter.Ed.) c. 60, § 16, due demand was made upon the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company for the payment of said tax of $15,392.24, together with interest thereon and costs relative thereto; but the said tax of $15,392.24, together with interest thereon and costs relative thereto, remains unpaid."

The amounts due may be thus summarized:

                                       1942 Tax
                1942 Real Estate Tax Assessed
                  to Carlton Hotel, Inc. ..................  $13,325.00
                Credit Payment on November 2
                  1942 ....................................    9,360.00
                                                             __________
                Balance ...................................    3,965.00
                Fee for demand (see Mass.General
                  Laws (Ter.Ed.) c. 60, §
                  15) .....................................         .35
                Interest on $3,965.00 at 4% under
                  Mass. General Laws (Ter
                  Ed.) c. 59, § 57, as amended
                  St.1941, c. 258, § 1, from October
                  1, 1942 to May 15, 1944                        257.24
                                                             __________
                       Total ..............................  $ 4,222.59
                  Additional Interest: 43½¢
                    per day)
                                      1942 Water
                1942 Water Bills (Added to 1943
                  Tax) for Water Supplied from
                  October 3, 1941 to September
                  1, 1942 (including $1 lien
                  charge under Mass. General
                  Laws (Ter.Ed.) c. 40, § 42D
                  as amended by St.1941, c. 380
                  § 4) ..............................   $ 2,067.24
                Interest at 4% under Mass. General
                  Laws (Ter.Ed.) c. 59, §
                  57, as amended St.1941, c. 258
                  § 1, from October 1, 1943 to
                  May 15, 1944 ...........................        51.43
                                                             __________
                        Total ............................   $ 2,118.67
                  (Additional Interest: 22½¢
                     per day)
                
                
                               1943 Tax
                1943 Real Estate Tax Assessed
                  to John Hancock Mutual Life
                  Insurance Company .....................    $13,325.00
                Fee for demand (see Mass. General
                  Laws (Ter.Ed.) c. 60, §
                  15) ...................................           .35
                Interest at 4% under Mass. General
                  Laws (Ter.Ed.) c. 59, §
                  57, as amended St.1941, c. 258,
                  § 1, from October 1, 1943 to
                  May 15, 1944 ..........................        331.48
                                                             __________
                        Total ...........................    $13,656.83
                    (Additional Interest: $1.46
                      per day)
                Recapitulation of Amounts Due
                         May 15, 1944
                    1942 Tax ............................    $ 4,222.59
                    1942 Water ..........................      2,118.67
                    1943 Tax ............................     13,656.83
                                                             __________
                    Grand Total .........................    $19,998.09
                    (Additional Interest: $2.12 per day)
                

The petition is opposed by the first mortgagee, John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company.

It is provided by U.S.C.A.Tit. 40, § 258a that, in proceedings of this nature, "the court shall have power to make such orders in respect of encumbrances, liens, rents, taxes, assessments, insurance, and other charges, if any, as shall be just and equitable."

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