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TAX CLAIM BUREAU MONTGOMERY COUNTY v. WHEATCROFT (06/03/71)

decided: June 3, 1971.

TAX CLAIM BUREAU OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY
v.
WHEATCROFT



Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Civil Division, No. 68- 15521, Upset Sale No. 1-7, in case of In re: Upset Sale, Tax Claim Bureau of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Emanuel A. Bertin, with him Jack A. Rounick, and Moss, Rounick & Hurowitz, for appellants.

Alfred O. Breinig, Jr., for appellee.

President Judge Bowman, and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Kramer. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Manderino.

Author: Kramer

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 409]

This case is an appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County dismissing a petition filed by Herbert and Esther Auritt (appellants). The above mentioned petition was for a rule to show cause why a tax sale of appellants' property should not be invalidated. Prior to the date of the contested sale (September 9, 1968), the appellants were the owners (tenants by the entirety) of a homestead property located in Abington Township, Montgomery County. The lower court dismissed appellants' petition and confirmed the upset sale to appellee. Appellants' property was sold to satisfy delinquent taxes in the amount of $1,553.82 for the years 1966 and 1967. The property was "knocked down" to the appellee-purchaser for the sum of $2,326.05, plus $13.00 costs.

The Order of the Common Pleas Court and the accompanying opinion of Judge Ditter, Jr., were based upon evidence received by depositions taken on May 16, August 21, and October 20 of 1969.

The record disclosed several prior occasions whereon appellants had been delinquent in their taxes. On

[ 2 Pa. Commw. Page 410]

    each prior occasion some type of last-minute arrangement prior to sale had been agreed upon.

In the course of the depositions the following very pertinent facts were established:

1. Notice by certified mail that the 1966 property taxes on the Auritt property were delinquent was received in June of 1967. The receipt was signed by Fannie Goldman, mother of Mrs. Auritt (appellant).

2. Notice by certified mail that the 1967 property taxes on the Auritt property were delinquent was received on June 14, 1968. The receipt was signed by Mrs. Esther Auritt (wife-appellant).

3. A copy of the Application for Registration or Certification stamped by the Post Office Department was introduced. This sheet listed all letters sent via registered mail on July 9, 1968, by the Tax Claim Bureau of Montgomery County. Among the entries were two pertinent to this case. One showed a letter sent to Mr. Auritt at his business address, and one showed a letter sent to Mr. and Mrs. Auritt at their home address. An employee of the Bureau testified that all of the addressees on the sheet introduced were recipients of upset-sale notices.

4. The upset-sale notices mentioned in "3" above were sent by registered mail, "return reply requested". As to whether the instruction "deliver to addressee only" was included on the companion receipt card is a matter of contention among the parties. It is known by clear evidence that the letter sent to Mr. Auritt at his business address bore the instruction "deliver to addressee only". This is known because the actual companion card sent with the letter was returned to the Bureau and bore the "deliver to addressee only" instruction. This ...


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