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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Clarence Jensen, a retiree, inherited a house from his mother. The ad valorem taxes were overdue, and the local taxing authorities obtained a judgment on the delinquencies. The property was sold at a tax sale to the Center Independent School District as trustee on June 4, 2003, and the sheriff’s tax deed was recorded on Aug. 14, 2003. Under Texas Tax Code �34.21(e)(1), Jensen had 180 days � until February 10, 2004 � to redeem the property. On Sept. 16, 2003, Center ISD sold the property to Jason Covington. Having redeemed the property once before, Jensen was familiar with the redemption process, but he had miscalculated his 180-day deadline by a few days. Around 3 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2004, Jensen contacted attorney Ken Muckelroy, who determined that the redemption deadline was Feb. 10. Jensen, working from a Kinko’s copy center in Richardson, hurriedly borrowed money to cover the redemption price and had the funds wired to Muckelroy in Center. From the available information, Muckelroy estimated the redemption price amount and placed it in his escrow account. His secretary Susan Livingston hand-delivered a letter to Covington, who ran a lumber yard about a half-mile from Muckelroy’s office. The letter, which was also sent by certified mail, stated: “Please be advised that my client, Clarence Jensen, has elected to exercise his right of redemption, as to the above-referenced property. . . . Mr. Jensen hereby requests a written itemization of all amounts spent by you in costs on the property. ‘Costs’ includes those items defined in Section 34.21(i) of the Property Tax Code. Please forward the itemization to my office.” The letter further stated to Covington: “You may come to my office to execute a Quitclaim Deed; to confirm the amount necessary for redemption; and to pick up a check, drawn on my escrow account, for your proceeds. If you wish to handle this process in a different manner, please let me know.” Livingston took the letter in an envelope to Covington at his lumber yard, along with an extra copy that was intended for him to sign as an acknowledgement of receipt. Livingston said that she handed the envelope and the extra copy to Covington and that he glanced over it and asked if Muckelroy was in the office. Livingston responded that he was in the office, and Covington handed the letter back to her without signing it. She returned to the office and reported to Muckelroy what had happened. Because Covington had asked if Muckelroy was in the office, she assumed Covington would be coming to the office. Covington admitted that Livingston brought him an envelope but denied that she gave him a copy and asked him to sign it. He said that he told her that he would “come by and see Ken later.” Covington testified that he did not open the envelope, read the letter, inquire why Muckelroy’s employee had hand-delivered correspondence to him or call Muckelroy. He claimed he was busy running his lumber yard. Covington’s explanation for not reading the letter or inquiring about the hand-delivery was that he assumed the subject matter concerned a 1997 transaction in which Muckelroy had represented him. Muckelroy waited at his office until approximately 6:30 p.m., but Covington never came. Muckelroy called Covington’s home twice and left a message. While waiting, Muckelroy had Livingston send the letter to Covington by fax at 5:49 p.m. with a fax cover sheet that stated: “Ken just wanted to make it clear to you that Mr. Jensen has deposited more than enough money in my [sic] trust account to pay you, but we do not know the exact amount of the redemption until we hear from you as to the [sic] your expenses. Ken will be in the office until 6:00 PM. Thanks.” Despite the hand delivery and the fax, Covington never contacted Muckelroy on Feb. 10. The next day, Muckelroy called Covington’s business twice but was unable to speak to him. He also went to Covington’s business to speak with him, but after he identified himself, the employee inquired within and returned to tell Muckelroy that Covington was not there. Muckelroy next drove to Covington’s residence and left with Covington’s wife a quitclaim deed and a check from Muckelroy’s escrow account payable to Covington in the amount of $45,625. Muckelroy testified that Covington’s wife accepted the check and quitclaim deed and told him it would not be necessary to pay the county tax assessor-collector. Covington’s wife disputed Muckelroy’s account, denying that she understood the purpose of Muckelroy’s visit and saying that she laid aside the documents until Covington came home. Finally, Muckelroy sent a Feb. 11 letter by fax to Covington, stating in pertinent part: “On the afternoon of February 10, 2004, my secretary, Susan Livingston, hand delivered Mr. Clarence Jensen’s notice of redemption to you, and you told her that you would come to my office and discuss this matter. I waited at my office for you until after 6:30 p.m. before calling your home and leaving a second message. I have also placed two calls for you today.” Muckelroy stated that he never made a payment to the tax-assessor collector, because he never got an itemization of Covington’s costs and because he believed that Mrs. Covington had accepted his check as payment of the redemption amount. Covington testified that he had paid taxes on the property and he produced receipts showing his maintenance costs. He admitted that, as of Feb. 10, he had sufficient records of his expenses as of that date so that he could have provided Muckelroy an itemization if he had chosen to do so. On Feb. 12, Covington’s attorney retuned the check to Muckelroy with a letter stating that the tender was unacceptable to Covington and insufficient to redeem the property, because it was tardy, conditional and “not in the form which would discharge the underlying obligation under the Texas Business and Commerce Code.” Jensen sued Covington to compel him to convey the interest Covington had acquired as the purchaser in a tax sale of Jensen’s real property. Jensen contended that Covington thwarted his redemption attempt and requested a declaratory judgment that: 1. his tender of the redemption price was sufficient; 2. determined the redemption price; and 3. required Covington to execute a deed conveying the property to Jensen. After a bench trial, the court ruled that Jensen had not redeemed the property and entered a take-nothing judgment. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The trial court made a finding that the redemption price was $45,625. In Jensen’s first four issues, he challenged the evidentiary sufficiency of the $45,625 finding. Section 34.21, the court stated, provides that an owner desiring to redeem his property must pay the purchaser: 1. the amount the purchaser paid for the property at the tax sale; 2. the deed recording fee; 3. the amount paid by the purchaser as taxes, penalties, and costs on the property; and 4. a redemption premium of 25 percent of the aggregate total. It is undisputed that Covington’s tax resale purchase price was $36,500, the court stated. The redemption price found by the trial court, $45,625, was exactly that purchase price plus 25 percent of it. But Covington testified that he had paid taxes on the property and paid for yard maintenance (mowing and tree trimming), even offering into evidence dozens of receipts for those expenses. The court agreed with Jensen that the trial court’s finding that the redemption price was $45,625 was erroneous as a matter of law, because it did not include Covington’s taxes and costs before calculating the redemption premium. The court found that the evidence conclusively established that an amount other than $45,625 was the redemption price. The trial court, the court stated, made findings that Jensen did not pay the redemption price to Covington before Feb. 11, that Jensen did not unconditionally offer to pay Covington the redemption price “in current coin of the realm,” and that Jensen never relinquished possession of the redemption price for a sufficient time and under circumstances to enable Covington to acquire the funds without special effort. The court, however, found that Jensen substantially complied with �34.21, and under the circumstances, made a timely tender to Covington of the redemption price. The court also found that Jensen sufficiently tendered the redemption price funds and did not make an improperly conditional tender. OPINION:Vance, J.; Vance and Reyna, JJ. DISSENT:Gray, C.J. “Jensen failed to exercise the right of redemption within the statutory deadline in time for the redemption amount to be properly calculated. I would affirm the trial court’s judgment and because the majority does not, I dissent.”

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