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Easton Aims to Save Man From Foreclosure

EASTON, Conn. – A 73-year-old Easton man who's facing foreclosure for falling 20 years behind in taxes may be rescued by the town.

Dwight Hazel, 73, has lived at 358 Westport Road for all of his life and owes the town more than $150,000 in taxes, First Selectman Thomas Herrmann said. Rather than put the home through a  foreclosure process, Herrmann said, “the most equitable and humane approach” would be for Hazel to sign the deed over to the town, which would then lease the home back to him for the rest of his life.

The deed is currently in Hazel’s name but Herrmann said Friday that he expected the town to take ownership in about a month.

During a public hearing on the matter on Thursday, several members of the public came out to question the decision to switch ownership, fearing this would set a precedent in town and encourage others to seek the same deal. But Selectman Robert Lessler said, “We are doing something that protects the financial interests of the town … but also demonstrating an act of compassion for a lifelong resident.”

Hazel would pay rent to the town with money received through Social Security. If Hazel were to move or pass away, the town would then sell the property in order to recoup the money owed, Herrmann said.

“This is a more compassionate response given the unique circumstances in this case while at the same time it secures the town’s interest,” Herrmann said.

A phone number for Hazel could be located.

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