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GIRARD TRUST COMPANY v. PHILADELPHIA (03/24/52)

March 24, 1952

GIRARD TRUST COMPANY
v.
PHILADELPHIA, APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 67 and 68, Jan. T., 1952, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1942, No. 1263, in case of Girard Trust Company v. City of Philadelphia, School District of Philadelphia, Board of Revision of Texas. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Abraham Wernick, Assistant City Solicitor, with him Frank F. Truscott, City Solicitor, for City of Philadelphia, appellant.

C. Brewster Rhoads, for School District of Philadelphia.

Joseph H. Lieberman, for Board of Revision of Texas.

Sanford D. Beecher, with him Claude C. Smith and Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 369 Pa. Page 500]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE HORACE STERN

Stated as concisely as possible, the question is whether a mortgage which is merely security for the

[ 369 Pa. Page 501]

    payment of accompanying bonds is subject to the personal property tax.

In 1924 the Penn Athletic Club conveyed its clubhouse at the northeast corner of 18th and Locust Streets, Philadelphia to one C. Benton Cooper, who thereupon executed to the Girard Trust Company, as Trustee, a mortgage indenture to secure an authorized issue of first mortgage bonds. The bonds were issued to various purchasers. It is not necessary for present purposes to recount in detail the checkered and somewhat tumultuous history of the property, the bond issue and the mortgage. Suffice it to say that Cooper conveyed the premises, under and subject to the mortgage, to Rittenhouse Square Corporation, which, some fifteen years later, deeded the property, under and subject to the mortgage, to the Penn Athletic Club, and in 1942, default having occurred in the payment of interest on the bonds, the latter conveyed the premises to the Girard Trust Company, Trustee, under and subject to the mortgage, the parties expressly stipulating that the lien of the mortgage was to remain unimpaired and the debt which it secured to continue as a valid and subsisting obligation of the original obligor, C. Benton Cooper.*fn* In 1948 the Girard Trust Company, Trustee, sold and conveyed the premises free and clear of all liens, and the mortgage was thereupon marked satisfied of record.

The Board of Revision of Taxes made an assessment for each of the years 1942 to 1948 inclusive for county personal property taxes against the Girard Trust Company, Trustee, under the Act of June 17, 1913, ...


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