We often wondered how many of our city’s non-resident property owners were taking the Maryland Homestead Tax Credit and claiming their property as “owner-occupied”.  We figured there had to be a few tax cheats out there, right? There were more than a few.  One of our readers found 384 of them, in fact.  Out of 1000+ vacant homes our reader found in the city’s database that were possibly not owner-occupied, over one-third of the owners are definitely cheating the state (and you, if you’re a resident of Maryland) out of thousands of dollars per year. Maryland is hardly in the position of letting that kind of cash fly out of the State House windows.  As usual, we’re going to dig deeper and see what we can find out about some of these property owners. Stay tuned.  Baltimore Sun blogger Jamie Smith Hopkins is also on top of this — if you haven’t bookmarked her blog, you should.

In other news, it seems that Baltimore’s favorite drug lord, Milton Tillman III, is feeling the pinch of the bad economy.  Thirty-five of his properties went into foreclosure last week.  His property at 116 N. Curley Street is currently under contract — maybe that will bring in some much-needed cash.

The City Paper ran an expose on the Baltimore vs. Wells Fargo lawsuit — turns out many of the “victims” were less than stellar citizens, and one “victim” may not even exist.  We have to wonder if this is worth the cost of a lengthy trial.  How about revamping the City’s housing policies instead, to prevent future disasters?

Correction:  Our reader found 1,148 vacant homes that were listed as “Owner-Occupied”.  For 384 of them, our reader was able to track the owner’s true address.