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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Williams v. Ketchikan Gateway Borough (2/15/2013) sp-6751

Williams v. Ketchikan Gateway Borough (2/15/2013) sp-6751

        Notice: This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the PACIFIC  REPORTER . 

        Readers are requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, 

        303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878, email 

        corrections@appellate.courts.state.ak.us. 



                 THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA 



FREDRICK G. WILLIAMS,                           ) 

                                                )       Supreme Court No. S-14513 

                        Appellant,              ) 

                                                )       Superior Court No. 1KE-11-00219 CI 

        v.                                      ) 

                                                )       O P I N I O N 

KETCHIKAN GATEWAY                               ) 

BOROUGH,                                        )      No. 6751 - February 15, 2013 

                                                ) 

                        Appellee.               ) 

                                                ) 



                Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, First 

                Judicial District, Ketchikan, Trevor Stephens, Judge. 



                Appearances:       Fredrick     G.  Williams,    pro  se,  Ketchikan, 

                Appellant.     Scott   A.   Brandt-Erichsen,   Borough   Attorney, 

                Ketchikan, for Appellee. 



                Before:    Fabe, Chief Justice, Carpeneti, Winfree, Stowers, 

                and Maassen, Justices. 



                FABE, Chief Justice. 



                Fredrick   Williams   appeals   the   superior   court's   decision   affirming   the 



Ketchikan Gateway Borough's ruling that the house at 511 Stedman Street is not exempt 



from Ketchikan Gateway Borough taxation.               In March 2002 Williams received a grant 



to rebuild his house from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Housing Improvement Program. 



Under the grant, Williams would have been required to repay the full amount of the grant 


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

if he had transferred the house within ten years of ownership.                Because Williams has 



owned the home for ten years, the repayment amount will annually decrease by ten 



percent   of   the   original   amount,   resulting   in   no   repayment   for   a   transfer   occurring 



20 years or more after Williams received the grant.             Williams executed a deed of trust 



securing the federal government's right to repayment under the grant with the Stedman 



Street property. 



                Williams claims that under the grant and the deed of trust, "[t]he federal 



government owns . . . the $115,000 it took to build the home," and that Williams was 



therefore exempt from paying property taxes on it.  On appeal, the superior court heard 



this argument and rejected it, upholding the Ketchikan Gateway Borough's view that the 



deed   of   trust   securing   the   grant   did   not   divest   Williams,   the   record   owner,   of   the 

ownership interest in his real property.1 



                Because we agree with the superior court that substantial evidence supports 



the   Ketchikan     Gateway     Borough's      factual  determinations      and   that  the  Borough's 



decision was correct as a matter of law, we AFFIRM the superior court and adopt its 

decision, which is attached as an appendix.2 



        1       "When the superior court acts as an intermediate court of appeal in an 



administrative matter, we independently review the merits of the agency's decision." 

Powercorp Alaska, LLC v. State, Alaska Indus. Dev. & Exp. Auth. , 171 P.3d 159, 163 

(Alaska 2007) (citing Williams v. Abood, 53 P.3d 134, 139 (Alaska 2002)) (substantial 

evidence   standard   applies   to   review   of   agency's   factual   findings   and   rational   basis 

standard applies to review of questions of law that involve agency expertise). 



        2       The attached decision has been edited to conform to the technical rules of 



the Alaska Supreme Court and internal record citations have been removed. 



                                                   -2-                                               6751 


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

             IN THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE STATE OF ALASKA
 



                     FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT AT KETCHIKAN
 



FREDRICK G. WILLIAMS,                               )
 

                                                    ) 

               Appellant,                           ) 

                                                    ) 

       v.                                           ) 

                                                    ) 

KETCHIKAN GATEWAY BOROUGH,                           ) 

DIRECTOR OF ASSESSMENTS,                             ) 

                                                    ) 

               Appellees.                           ) 

_____________________________________)                       Case No. 1KE-11-219 CI 



                                          DECISION 



               Mr. Williams appeals the Ketchikan Gateway Borough's (KGB) decision 



that the improvements (house) situated on the real property located at 511 Stedman Street 



are not exempt from KGB property taxation per Ketchikan Gateway Borough Code 



 45.11.020 and AS 29.45.030.         Oral argument occurred on September 14, 2011.  The 



KGB was represented by KGB Attorney Scott Brandt-Erichsen. Mr. Williams appeared 



pro se.  The court took the matter under advisement.          The KGB's decision is, for the 



following reasons, AFFIRMED. 



                                 I. POINTS ON APPEAL 



               Mr. Williams' Statement of Points presents the following issue: 



        a.     Whether   the   federal   government   has   an   interest   in   Lot   20,   Block   28 



(511 Stedman Street) which exempts the extent of that   interest from KGB property 



taxation per KGB  45.11.020 and AS 29.45.030. 



                                      Appendix - 1 of 12                                     6751 


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

                                     II.  JURISDICTION
 



                This court has jurisdiction to review Mr. Williams' appeal of the KGB's 



decision that the property (including the house) at 511 Stedman Street is not exempt from 



taxation    under   KGB      45.11.020    or  AS   29.45.030    per  AS    22.10.020(d),    Alaska 



Appellate Rule 601(b), and KGB  45.11.100). 



                               III. STANDARD OF REVIEW 



                The Alaska Supreme Court has recognized that: 



                In reviewing administrative decisions . . . [there are] at least 

                four   principal    standards    of   review.    "These      are  the 

                'substantial    evidence     test'  for  questions    of   fact;  the 

                'reasonable basis test' for questions of law involving agency 

                expertise; the 'substitution of judgment test' for questions of 

                law where no expertise is involved; and the 'reasonable and 

               not arbitrary test' for review of administrative regulations." 

               We review an agency's interpretation of its own regulation 

               under the reasonable basis standard, deferring to the agency 

               unless     the    interpretation    is  "plainly    erroneous     and 

                inconsistent with the regulation."      We review questions of 

                law and issues of constitutional interpretation de novo under 

               the substitution of judgment standard.[1] 



                "Substantial evidence is evidence that a 'reasonable mind might accept as 

adequate to support a conclusion.' "2      An appellate court does not "reweigh the evidence 



        1      Simpson v. State, Commercial Fisheries Entry Comm'n, 101 P.3d 605, 609 



(Alaska 2004) (quoting Jager v. State,  537 P.2d 1100, 1107 n.23 (Alaska 1975) and 

Lauth v. State , 12 P.3d 181, 184 (Alaska 2000)). 



        2      May v. State, Commercial Fisheries Entry Comm'n , 175 P.3d 1211, 1216 



(Alaska 2007) (quoting Cleaver v. State, Commercial Fisheries Entry Comm'n, 48 P.3d 

464, 467 (Alaska 2002) (internal citation and quotations omitted)). 



                                       Appendix - 2 of 12                                       6751 


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

nor   choose   between   competing   factual   inferences,"3    and   the   court   must   uphold   an 



administrative agency's decision if it is supported by substantial evidence "[e]ven though 

there are competing facts that might support a different conclusion."4        An appellate court 



may reverse an agency's decision "only if we 'cannot conscientiously find the evidence 

supporting [the agency's decision] is substantial.' "5 



                                         IV.  RECORD 



               Emily   R.   Whitesides,   Personal   Representative   of   the   Estate   of   Robert 



Whitesides, executed a Quitclaim Deed on June 19, 1991 conveying the Estate's interest 



in Lot 20 of Block 28, as shown on plat of U.S. Survey 1990 (511 Stedman property), 



to   Fredrick   George   Williams.   The   Quitclaim   Deed   was   recorded   in   the   Ketchikan 



Recording District. 



               The KGB assessed the value of the 511 Stedman property as follows since 



1999: 



               Year            Land            Improvements                  Total 



                1999           $40,700        $9,900                        $50,600 

               2000            $42,500        $6,900                        $49,400 

               2001            $42,500        $6,900                        $49,400 

               2002            $42,500        $0                            $42,500 

               2003            $42,500        $126,500                      $169,000 

               2004            $42,500        $116,600                      $159,100 

               2005            $42,500        $116,600                      $159,100 



        3      State of Alaska, Div. of Corps., Bus. & Prof'l Licensing v. Platt, 169 P.3d 



595, 601 (Alaska 2007) (quoting Doyon Universal Servs. v. Allen , 999 P.2d 764, 767 

(Alaska 2000)). 



        4      Platt , 169 P.3d at 601. 



        5      Powercorp Alaska, LLC v. State, Alaska Indus. Dev. & Exp. Auth. , 171 P.3d 



159, 163 (Alaska 2007) (quoting Robinson v. Municipality of Anchorage , 69 P.3d 489, 

493 (Alaska 2003)). 



                                       Appendix - 3 of 12                                      6751 


----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

              2006           $48,900        $134,100                   $183,000 

              2007           $61,100        $134,100                   $195,200 

              2008           $59,000        $136,800                    $195,800 

              2009           $59,000        $136,800                    $195,800 

              2010           $59,000        $136,800                    $195,800 

              2011           $59,000        $136,800                    $195,800 



              Mr.    Williams   entered  into  a  Ketchikan  Indian   Corporation   Housing 

Program Housing Improvement Program Grant Agreement on March 5, 2002.6                  The 



Grant Agreement references Block 28, Lot 20 and provides that the grant is being made 



by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Housing Improvement Program (HIP), and that 



it is subject to the regulations set forth at 25 C.F.R.  256 (1998).  The Grant Agreement 



also provides that the grant was for "building materials and labor assistance" and that the 



assistance provided "will be only that amount necessary to meet the basic housing needs 



of the Grantee."   The Grant Agreement reflects that the grant was being made under 



"HIP   Category 'C'," which provides that the entire grant amount would have to be 



repaid if he sold "the house for which the grant was made" during the next 10 years, and 



that the amount due on sale would decrease 10% a year thereafter - which results in no 



payment having to be made if the property were sold after 20 years.         And the Grant 



Agreement provides that the terms thereof were binding on the Grantee's successors in 



the event of his death during the term of the grant and "shall be binding on . . . persons 



who succeed to the grantee's interest(s) in the house for which the grant is made." 



              Mr. Williams executed a Deed of Trust Promissory Note (DOT Note) on 



March 8, 2002.     The DOT Note was recorded in the Ketchikan Recording District on 



April 2, 2002.  The DOT Note includes the following: 



       6      Mr. Williams requested that this document be added to the record.  The 



KGB did not oppose the request.      The court granted the request.   The document is part 

of the record but is not numbered as are the other documents in the record. 



                                    Appendix - 4 of 12                                  6751 


----------------------- Page 7-----------------------

        a.       Payment on the Note is secured by Lot 20, Block 28. 



        b.       Mr. Williams promises to pay $115,000 in return for a loan 

                he received from the Ketchikan Indian Corporation Housing 

                Authority     for  the   U.S.   Bureau    of  Indian   Affairs    Home 

                Improvement Program. 



        c.       The loan is interest free. 



        d.       If there is a voluntary or involuntary sale or transfer of the 

                security   (Lot   20,   Block   28)   during   the   first   10   years   the 

                amount due will be the principal loan amount of $115,000. 

                If this  occurs during the  10th year the  amount due will be 

                90% of the principal amount.  The balance that would be due 

                is thereafter reduced by 10% each succeeding year until there 

                is a zero balance after 20 years. 



        e.       Otherwise, no payments are required. 



        f.       The Promissory Note is secured by a Deed of Trust. 



        g.       The Holder of the Promissory Note "has the right to sue on 

                the Note and obtain a personal judgment . . . for satisfaction 

                of   the   amount   due   under   the   Note   either   before   or   after   a 

                judicial foreclosure of the mortgage or  Deed of Trust under 

                AS 09.45.170-09.45.220." 



                Mr. Williams executed a Deed of Trust (DOT) on March 8, 2002.  The 



DOT was recorded in the Ketchikan Recording District on April 2, 2002.                      The DOT 



includes the following: 



        a.	     Mr. Williams is the Trustor.        Ketchikan Indian Corporation 

                Housing      Authority     is  the  Beneficiary.     Ketchikan     Title 

                Agency, Inc. is the Trustee. 



        b.	     The   Beneficiary,   "for   the   U.S.   Bureau   of   Indian   Affairs, 

                Home      Improvement       Program,"      provided     funds   to   Mr. 

                Williams for repairing and upgrading the property at Lot 20, 

                Block 28.     As a result, Mr. Williams owes the Beneficiary 

                $115,000. 



                                        Appendix - 5 of 12	                                       6751 


----------------------- Page 8-----------------------

        c.	    "The Trustor grants, bargains, sells and conveys to Trustee, 

               in Trust with Power of Sale, that property described as:  Lot 

               twenty (20) of Block Twenty-eight (28) . . . ." 



        d.	    "This Deed of Trust is made for the purpose of securing the 

               following:    A.   Performance   of   each   agreement   of   Trustor 

               contained herein; and B. Payment of the sum of $115,000 

               cash . . . pursuant to the terms contained in a Deed of Trust 

               Promissory Note of even date herewith; C. Any and all sums 

               Beneficiary may expend or advance in accordance herewith 

               for the protection or preservation of the property covered by 

               this Deed of Trust." 



        e.	    The     term    of  the   Deed     of   Trust   for   purposes     of 

               AS 34.20.140-34.20.150 is 25 years, "unless the obligation 

               is earlier satisfied." 



        f.	    Mr. Williams must: "Protect and preserve [the] property and 

               maintain     it  in  good  condition    and   repair."   He    must: 

               "Comply with all laws, ordinances, regulations, covenants, 

               conditions and restrictions affecting said property and not . . . 

               commit any act upon or concerning said property in violation 

               of the law."    He must maintain insurance on the property, 

               with the Beneficiary being a loss payee.       He must:    "Pay at 

               least ten days before delinquency all taxes and assessments 

               affecting said property . . . ." 



        g.	    In the event of default all amounts owed become immediately 

               due and payable. The Beneficiary may elect to sue upon the 

               Promissory       Note     and    to   foreclose    judicially    per 

               AS   09.45.170-09.45.220   or   foreclose   extra-judicially   per 

               AS 34.20.070-34.20.135, or it may foreclose judicially or 

               extra-judicially without first suing on the Promissory Note. 



               [Between   October   2010   and   September   2011,   Mr.   Williams   and   KGB 



engaged in lengthy correspondence in which Mr. Williams asserted that the property was 



                                      Appendix - 6 of 12	                                   6751 


----------------------- Page 9-----------------------

owned by the federal government, and thus exempt from taxation, and KGB responded 



that Mr. Williams remained the record owner and was liable for property taxes.] 



                . . . . 



                                         V.  DISCUSSION 



                                       a.  Parties' Positions 



                Mr.   Williams   claims   that   the   federal   government   has   an   interest   in   the 



improvements at 511 Stedman Street (house); he does not; and, the federal government's 



interest is exempt from KGB property taxation per AS 29.45.030 and KGB  45.11.020. 



                The KGB claims that Mr. Williams is the record owner of the property at 



511 Stedman Street, including the improvements (house); the federal government does 



not retain an ownership interest in the house by virtue of the DOT Note, the DOT, or the 



Grant     Agreement;     so   the  house    is  not  exempt    from    KGB     property    taxation   per 



AS 29.45.030 or KGB  45.11.020. 



                                                b.  Law 



                Article   IX,   section   5   of   the   Alaska   Constitution   provides   that   "Private 



leaseholds, contracts, or interests in land or property owned or held by the United States, 



the State, or its political subdivisions, shall be taxable to the extent of the interests." 



                KGB  45.11.010 provides, in pertinent part, that: 



                All real property in the borough . . . except such . . . property 

                as is by law exempt from taxation, shall be annually assessed, 

                and a tax thereon shall be annually levied and collected for 

                school     and   municipal    purposes,    in  the   manner    set  forth 

                herein. 



                KGB  45.11.005 provides that: 



                The term "real property" means land and improvements, all 

                possessory rights and privileges appurtenant to the property, 

                and     includes    personal    property    affixed   to   the  land   or 

                improvements. 



                                         Appendix - 7 of 12                                          6751 


----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

And that "improvements" means:               "All buildings, structures, fences, landscaping and 



additions erected in or upon land." 



                 KGB  45.11.020(a)(8) provides that: 



                 (a)  The following property is exempt from general taxation: 



                 . . . . 



                 (8)  Property of a political subdivision, agency, corporation, 

                 or other entity of the United States to the extent required by 

                 federal law; except that a private leasehold, contract, or other 

                 interest in property is taxable to the extent of that interest. 



                 KGB  45.11.030 provides that: 



                 An interest, other than record ownership, in real property of 

                 an individual residing in the property is exempt from real 

                 property taxes if the property has been developed, improved, 

                 or acquired with federal funds for low-income housing and is 

                 owned      or  managed      as  low-income       housing    by   the   state 

                 building   authority   or   a   regional   housing   authority   formed 

                 under AS 18.55.996.         This subsection does not prohibit the 

                 borough from receiving payments in lieu of taxes authorized 

                 under federal law. 



                 Alaska Statute 29.45.030(a)(8) provides that: 



                 (a)  The following property is exempt from general taxation: 



                 . . . . 



                 (8)  property of a political subdivision, agency, corporation, 

                 or other entity of the United States to the extent required by 

                 federal law; except that a private leasehold, contract, or other 

                 interest in the property is taxable to the extent of that interest 

                 unless the property is located on a military base or installation 

                 and the property interest is created under 10 U.S.C. 2871- 

                 2885   (Military   Housing   Privatization   Initiative),   provided 

                 that   the  leaseholder     enters   into   an  agreement   to     make    a 

                 payment in lieu of taxes to the political subdivision that has 

                 taxing authority. 



                                          Appendix - 8 of 12                                           6751 


----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

                 Alaska Statute 29.71.800 provides, in pertinent part, that: 



                 (17)  "property" means real and personal property; 



                 . . . . 



                 (19)    "real   property"     means   land    and   improvements,   all 

                 possessory rights and privileges appurtenant to the property, 

                 and    includes    personal     property     affixed   to   the  land    or 

                 improvements. 



                 Alaska     Statute    34.15.010(a)      provides,    in   pertinent    part,   that:    "A 



conveyance of land . . . or interest in land, may be made by deed . . . ." 



                 Alaska Statute 34.15.050 provides that:  "A deed of quitclaim and release 



for the form in common use is sufficient to pass all the real estate which the grantor can 

convey by a deed of bargain and sale."7 



                 Alaska Statute 34.20.110 provides that: 



                 For the purposes of record, a deed of trust given to secure an 

                 indebtedness, shall be treated as a mortgage of real estate, and 

                 recorded in full in the book provided for mortgages of real 

                 property. The person who makes or executes the deed of trust 

                 shall be indexed as the "mortgagor" and the trustee and the 

                 beneficiary or cestui que trust, as the "mortgagees." 



                 The Alaska Supreme Court has stated that: 



                 We treat deeds of trust as identical to mortgages in almost all 

                 respects.  In Brand, we stated: "A deed of trust is 'a mortgage 

                 in   effect,'  being    only    a  somewhat      different    device    for 

                 accomplishing the same purpose, creating a security interest 



        7        See Ellingstad v. State, Dep't of Natural Res. , 979 P.2d 1000, 1004 (Alaska 



1999)      ("[A]ccording      to  AS    34.15.050,     part   of   the  statutory    scheme     governing 

conveyances, a quitclaim deed conveys all of the existing legal and equitable rights of 

the seller in the property described in the deed."). 



                                          Appendix - 9 of 12                                          6751 


----------------------- Page 12-----------------------

               in land . . . [A] deed of trust does not move title out of the 

               trustor, but only creates a lien."[8] 



               The Alaska Supreme Court has recognized that: 



               A   taxpayer   claiming   a  tax  exemption    has  the  burden   of 

               showing     that  the  property  is  eligible  for  the  exemption. 

               Furthermore,     the  courts  must   narrowly    construe   statutes 

               granting such exemptions.[9] 



                                          c.  Decision 



               The court finds   that the KGB's determination that Mr. Williams is the 



owner of the real property and  improvements at 511 Stedman Street and that no portion 

of said property is exempt from KGB taxation is supported by substantial evidence10 for 



five reasons. 



               First, the record reflects that Mr. Williams became the owner of record of 



the real property at 511 Stedman Street, and the improvements thereon, in 1991 by virtue 



of the quitclaim deed. 



               Second,     Mr.  Williams'    ownership    interest  in  the  property  (real  and 



improvements)       at  511   Stedman    Street   is  subject  to  KGB     property    taxes  per 



KGB  45.11.010. 



               Third, the 2002 Grant Agreement provided that Mr. Williams would receive 



a federal grant which would pay for the demolition of the residence then on the real 



        8      Young v. Embley, 143 P.3d 936, 941-42 (Alaska 2006) (quoting Brand v. 



First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n of Fairbanks , 478 P.2d 829, 831-32 (Alaska 1970)).  See 

also Belland v. O.K. Lumber Co. , 797 P.2d 638, 640 n.4 (Alaska 1990) ("A deed of trust 

in Alaska is treated as a lien against the property, much like a mortgage."). 



        9      Greater Anchorage Area Borough v. Sisters of Charity of the House of 



Providence , 553 P.2d 467, 469 (Alaska 1976). 



        10     The court would make the same finding if the substantial evidence standard 



did not apply and de novo review is appropriate. 



                                     Appendix - 10 of 12                                     6751 


----------------------- Page 13-----------------------

property at 511 Stedman Street and the building of a replacement residence.   The Grant 



Agreement provided that he would not have to make any payments but would have to 



repay the entire grant amount ($115,000) if he sold the property during the first ten years 



of the grant term, and that the repayment amount would decrease by 10% every year 



thereafter.   The Grant Agreement did not divest Mr. Williams of any of his ownership 



interest in the real property at 511 Stedman Street, or of any of his ownership interest in 



the present or future improvements on said property. 



                 Fourth, Mr. Williams executed the 2002 DOT and DOT Note to implement 



the Grant Agreement. The DOT and the DOT Note contain repayment provisions similar 



to   those   in  the   Grant    Agreement.       Neither     the  DOT     nor   the   DOT     Note   divest 



Mr. Williams of any of his ownership interest in the real property and improvements at 



511 Stedman Street.   Under Alaska law a deed of trust creates a security interest.  There 



are no terms in this DOT, or the DOT Note, which show that the parties intended that the 



same created other than a security interest.  To the contrary, the terms demonstrate that 



the intent was that the federal government would only have a security interest in the 



property. The limitations and requirements that are imposed are of the type generally 

imposed   by   a   lender   in   order   to   protect   the   security   interest.11 The   DOT   expressly 



contemplates that the improvements financed through the Grant Agreement would be 



subject to taxation as it specifically provides that Mr. Williams is responsible for paying 

such taxes.12 



        11       A   contrary   ruling   would   result   in   lenders   being   deemed   owners   of   the 



security   (real   property   and   improvements)   and   thus   responsible   for   the   payment   or 

related property taxes in the absence of an agreement with the debtor to the contrary. 



        12       Mr.   Williams   argues      that   the  Grant   he   received    was   for  low-income 



recipients and that this fact somehow results in his not being responsible for that portion 

of   the   KGB   property   tax   allocated   to   the   improvements (the   house).       But   the   DOT 

                                                                                           (continued...) 



                                         Appendix - 11 of 12                                            6751 


----------------------- Page 14-----------------------

               Fifth, given the above, the improvements located at 511 Stedman Street are 

not exempt from KGB taxation under KGB  45.11.020(8) or AS 29.45.030(a)(8).13 



                                     VI.   CONCLUSION 



               The KGB decision that the improvements (house) located at 511 Stedman 



Street    are   not   exempt     from   KGB      taxation   under    KGB        45.11.020(8)      or 



AS 29.45.030(a)(8) is, for the reasons discussed above, affirmed. 



               IT IS SO ORDERED. 

               Dated at Ketchikan, Alaska this 28th day of September 2011. 



                                              /s/	   Trevor N. Stephens 

                                                      Superior Court Judge 



        12(...continued) 



demonstrates that it was understood that the same would be taxed and agreed that he 

would be responsible for paying the taxes.  The court also notes that he is able, under the 

terms of the Grant Agreement - DOT - and DOT Note - to possess and reside in the 

house without having to make any repayments unless and until he sells the property. 



        13     The court notes that Mr. Williams argued in his Amended Appellant's 



Reply that he is a Tlingit and the federal government has a special relationship with 

American   Indians.     To   the   extent   that   this   is   a   separate   argument,   the   court   is   not 

addressing the same because it was made in a reply and has not been adequately briefed. 

To the extent that the court must address this point, Mr. Williams has not shown how the 

same results in the federal government having an ownership interest in the improvements 

at issue or in his not having ownership of the same, subject to the DOT security interest. 



                                      Appendix - 12 of 12                                       6751 

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