OAKLAND — An Air Force veteran, commercial fisherman and cancer survivor who fell behind on taxes on his McGrath Pond camps asked the Town Council to consider giving him some of the proceeds from the sale of the tax-acquired properties.

After a 60-minute meeting Wednesday, the council tabled the matter, intending to take it up again at its April 11 meeting.

John B. Ingraham, who is in his late 60s, said he was unable to work after treatment for prostate cancer in 2007 and that he was homeless for two years in Massachusetts after that.

Because he was homeless, attempts by Oakland officials to notify him that his properties were in danger of being seized failed.

Ingraham, who was born in Waterville and resides in Worcester, Mass., said he lives on Social Security retirement benefits and a veteran’s stipend.

Ingraham, whose eyesight is impaired, traveled from Massachusetts to address the council and remove some of his personal items from the camps on Tilton Point Trail.

Several Oakland residents at the noon meeting were vocal in their support of Ingraham and urged councilors to return money to him from the sale of the camps.

“The basic concept of taking advantage of the disadvantaged is just wrong,” said Anne Hammond, an Oakland resident.

Town attorney Michael Hodgins said the council owns the parcels and has the legal authority to distribute money from the sales as it sees fit, including giving some or all to Ingraham.

Town Manager Peter Nielsen and Hodgins said Ingraham owed $11,508 in back taxes and the town spent about $18,500 in legal fees to deal with the matter.

The two tax-acquired properties, which are both under contract, are expected to bring the town $180,000, said Nielsen. The town would stand to gain about $150,000 more than the taxes and legal fees.

Council Chairman Michael Perkins said the town followed the law in taking ownership of the land and said if the council has the chance to help Ingraham, it should.

“I’d like to help,” Perkins said. “I believe in taking the high road every time. I also know we need our taxes paid.”

Councilor Don Borman said it was important to do what is best and fair for the entire town. He said residents other than those at the meeting might believe the town should keep all the money from the sales.

Nielsen encouraged the council to consider balancing its concern and sympathy for Ingraham with its fiduciary responsibility to the town and its taxpayers.

“The town relies on property taxes … ,” he said. “What does this say to people who pay their taxes? People know if they don’t pay their taxes, they lose their property.”

Ingraham, who is represented by attorney Robert Marden, shook councilors’ hands and thanked residents who attended to support him.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]

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