CEDAR LAKE | A local resident has set up a bank account to receive donations for a blind Cedar Lake woman facing eviction from her home.
The DeMotte State Bank recently opened it at the request of a man, who has asked to remain anonymous.
Dolores Pittman has no alternative housing and few financial resources. The Center Township trustee is investigating whether she is eligible for poor relief because she has been blind and unemployed for decades, living on government disability benefits and a small pension.
People interested in helping her are asked to make checks payable to The Dolores Pittman Benefit Fund, DeMotte State Bank, P.O. Box 683, Cedar Lake, IN 46303. Donations can be made in person at the DeMotte State Bank, which has branch offices in Cedar Lake and Lowell.
Pittman is in jeopardy of losing her home after Clayton Pullins, of Chesterton, purchased the small plot on which her house sits in a 2009 Lake County Board of Commissioners tax sale. Pullins bought the land for $43 and now is pushing for Pittman's eviction.
County officials have said there is nothing they can do for Pittman because Pullins appears to have legally acquired the real estate.
Pittman's family bought the house decades ago, but paid rent for the land beneath it to a lakeside summer resort — until the resort later divested itself of its holdings and refused to pay taxes on her lot.
The county flagged it as one of more than 11,000 tax delinquent properties and, unknown to Pittman, offered it up to speculators at an online auction four years ago.
Pittman thought town hall owned her plot because the municipality acquired the rest of the resort's holdings. Town officials accepted her rent payments after the resort dissolved.
County officials only sent notice of the tax sale to the resort. The Pittman family, in an oversight, didn't properly recorded their ownership interest with the county.
This confusion was only cleared up after the redemption period, during which Pittman could have contested the land's sale, expired.