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Police escort Groh from taxation office

November 13, 2002|BY JULIE E. GREENE and LAURA ERNDE

HAGERSTOWN - Property owner Vincent Groh received a police escort from the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation office on Public Square Tuesday after a disagreement over his tax bill.

Groh wanted an explanation about an appeal, but did not seem to be satisfied with the information he received, said Tim O'Rourke, supervisor of assessments for Washington County.

"He just got loud and he was using language you shouldn't use," he said.

The incident took place in an office, away from view of other customers, he said.

O'Rourke said Groh told staff members that he wouldn't leave unless the police were called. When police arrived, Groh left quietly, he said.

Groh said he was at the office for about 90 minutes trying to correct a matter involving Biltrite Homes Corp.-owned land near Wal-Mart. Groh is a shareholder and president of Biltrite Homes.

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When asked if he raised his voice, Groh said, "I hope not. I might have."

"They called the police to get me out of their hair. That's the first time that's happened," Groh said. He said the two police officers were "very nice" to him.

Groh said he was disputing the real estate tax amount because he thought it was supposed to be phased in over three years.

As the owner or representative for several different companies that own land in the Hagerstown area, Groh said he has filed about 70 appeals with the office this year.

"They didn't say I couldn't come back," Groh said.

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