Christine MacDonald, Detroit News

A U.S. bankruptcy judge cleared the way Thursday for the state to hear hundreds of Detroit owners’ property assessment appeals.

But it’s not clear when the city will pay out refunds if state officials find that owners were overtaxed.

Judge Steven Rhodes had frozen all lawsuits and claims against the city in its bankruptcy case, but he issued an order Thursday allowing the Michigan Tax Tribunal appeal hearings to proceed.

The order says that the stay is “not modified” to permit collection of refunds, but city officials have said they plan on paying owners that successfully appeal.

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