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Southern Bulletin

SULC/Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government enter into agreement - 10/12/2013 -

The Southern University Law Center (SULC) has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with Lafayette City Parish Consolidated Government to assist in heirship and adjudicated property remediation that has the potential of saving taxpayers thousands of dollars and addressing the root causes of urban blight.

Under the agreement, SULC students supervised by an experienced faculty member will assist the city and individual residents in establishing merchantable titles to properties that fall into the category of either being blighted, or have titles suggestive of litigation, or have been adjudicated to local government for non-payment of taxes.

The partnership, signed by Lafayette officials, Chancellor Freddie Pitcher Jr., and SU System President Ronald Mason Jr., on October 12, 2013, is an outgrowth of a student project prepared for the course, Louisiana Real Estate Transactions, taught by SULC professors Winston Riddick and Paul Race.

As part of his project, Chad LaComb, who is a third-year SULC student and a planner with Lafayette Consolidated Government, drafted the intergovernmental agreement. The ordinance authorizing the agreement was adopted by the Lafayette City-Parish Council and signed by Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel. Katrena Porter, a law student participating in the SULC chancellor's Public Interest Initiative, was also assigned to this project.

A successful pilot project was conducted this summer where SULC students saved taxpayers about $60,000 by tracking down the legal heirs of 14 blighted local properties, according to LaComb. Riddick supervised students in the class who prepared abstracts and wrote title opinion letters for several pieces of property that were adjudicated to the City of Lafayette and selected to be part of the Lafayette Heirship and Adjudicated Property Project. The sale of adjudicated properties is a source of revenue for cities and allows property to be placed back on the tax roll.

"Providing meaningful experiential learning opportunities for our students advances the mission and brand of this Law Center," Chancellor Freddie Pitcher Jr., said.

Also through this partnership, SULC and Lafayette will apply for grants to further Lafayette economic development through the remediation of heirship, blighted, and adjudicated properties; negotiate overhead cost on a project-by-project basis; and provide opportunities for supervised student internships in local government.

Other benefits of the project will be to educate the public about challenges associated with heirship, blighted, and adjudicated properties and aid in the perfection of the constitutionally mandated notice requirements for target adjudicated properties.

For more information, contact Winston Riddick at Wriddick@sulc.edu.