Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County in the case of Concerned Citizens of Schuylkill County, Inc. v. Schuylkill County, a municipal corporation organized and existing under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Schuylkill County Tax Claim Bureau, No. S-485-1982.
Michael T. Hudock, for appellants.
Martin J. Cerullo, with him Frederick H. Hobbs and Charles L. Frank, for appellees.
Judges Craig, Barry and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 524]
This appeal involves an action which attacks the legality of the Schuylkill County Tax Claim Bureau's leasing of several properties acquired by the county at delinquent tax sale, to private lessees. Also questioned is the sale of one such property. The Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County sustained the county's demurrers to the amended complaint filed by appellant Concerned Citizens of Schuylkill County, Inc., and hence dismissed the action without reaching additional preliminary objections which questioned the standing of that nonprofit corporation.
This court has the threshold question of whether the pleadings establish standing on the part of the appellant corporation to represent its taxpayer members in a taxpayers' action questioning the legality of the county's handling and disposition of delinquent tax
[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 525]
property entrusted to it. If legal standing exists, then we must decide if the amended complaint sufficiently pleads, in connection with the leases and sale, violations of the requirements of the Real Estate Tax Sale Law, Act of July 7, 1947, P.L. 1368, sections 101-703, as amended, 72 P.S. §§ 5860.101-5860.703.
The county has preserved the standing issue, even though the trial court did not reach it. In Concerned Taxpayers of Allegheny County v. Pennsylvania, 33 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 518, 382 A.2d 490 (1978), this court considered the question of the standing of a nonprofit corporation as the sole plaintiff in a taxpayers' action. After holding that the corporation itself had no taxpayer status to give it standing as such, the opinion by the late President Judge Bowman proceeded to state the principle directly applicable here, as follows:
Although an association or, in this case, a nonprofit corporation, may assert the interests of its members, and taxpayers may challenge alleged unlawful expenditures, the requirements of a direct, immediate, and substantial injury remain. This requires allegation of direct injury to the taxpayer status, caused by the challenged ...