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CENTRAL STORAGE & TRANSFER CO. v. HENRY H. KAPLAN (08/01/78)

decided: August 1, 1978.

CENTRAL STORAGE & TRANSFER CO., PETITIONER
v.
HENRY H. KAPLAN, CHAIRMAN, DANIEL W. PENNICK, MEMBER, EDWIN WINNER, MEMBER, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Board of Finance and Revenue in case of Central Storage & Transfer Co. v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and Department of Property and Supplies, Docket No. RBOC-2061.

COUNSEL

Thomas D. Caldwell, Jr., with him Caldwell, Clouser & Kearns, for appellant.

J. Leonard Langan, Assistant Attorney General, with him Kenneth W. Makowski, Acting Chief Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 107]

The State Board of Claims, composed of the Auditor General and State Treasurer, awarded Central Storage and Transfer Company (Central) $197,425.25 against the Commonwealth, acting by its Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB). The Board of Claims, on the LCB's application, refused to resettle the award. The LCB then filed its petition requesting review of the Board of Claims' action by the Board of Finance and Revenue. The Board of Finance and Revenue, which is composed of the State Treasurer, the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Auditor General and the Secretary of Revenue, reversed the order of the Board of Claims and resettled the claim in favor of the LCB and against Central. Central has appealed the action of the Board of Finance and Revenue to this Court.

Central's action before the Board of Claims taken pursuant to Section 1003 of The Fiscal Code,*fn1 72 P.S. § 1003, was for money spent by it on alterations to a warehouse made, it says, in reliance on oral assurances of representatives of the LCB that the LCB would rent the warehouse so altered. The LCB defended on the ground that there was no enforceable contract of lease

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 108]

    binding the Commonwealth because no lease was executed in behalf of the Commonwealth in the manner mandated by statute. The Board of Claims, after hearing, concluded that although no lease was executed in behalf of the Commonwealth as the statutes required, "we do have here a situation warranting the exercise of this Board's equitable jurisdiction" and that "equitable consideration of [the] claim" demanded an award to Central.

On October 8, 1976, the LCB filed with this Court a petition for review from the Board of Claims' decision which we later quashed sua sponte for lack of jurisdiction.*fn2 On December 15, 1976, the LCB filed a petition for resettlement which was denied by the Board of Claims. On appeal, the Board of Finance and Revenue reversed and resettled Central's claim in favor of the

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 109]

LCB without findings of fact or conclusions of law or discussion. This appeal by Central followed.

Section 1104(d) of The Fiscal Code, 72 P.S. § 1104(d), provides that appeals to this Court from the Board of Finance and Revenue "shall be hearings de novo." Happily the parties have stipulated that the record here shall be that made before the Board of Claims. We in turn adopt as our own the following findings of the Board of Claims:

3. During the summer of 1972, the Director, Bureau of State Stores, of the Defendant Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, hereinafter referred to as 'Board,' and the Chief, Real Estate and Equipment Division of the Bureau of State Stores, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, at the direction of the Board, opened negotiations for the leasing of warehouse and office space in a warehouse owned by [Central], located at 3500 Industrial Road, which was then under construction.

4. Pursuant to instructions of the Board, its agent informed [Central] that if a portion of the warehouse in question were constructed or altered to the Board's specifications, the Board would lease (a) 10,510 square feet of warehouse space on the first floor; (b) 12,490 feet of warehouse space on the second floor; and (c) 459 feet of office space on the second floor, for a period from October 1, 1972 to September 30, 1977, at a yearly rental of $34,680.00 to be paid at a rate of $2,890.00 per month.

5. Pursuant to the instructions received from the Board's representatives [Central] completed a real estate option dated September 8, ...


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