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FREDERICK F. REED v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/16/87)

decided: July 16, 1987.

FREDERICK F. REED, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Board of Finance and Revenue, Re: Frederick F. Reed, Docket No. RCO-6916.

COUNSEL

Preston L. Davis, Davis, Davis & Kaar, for petitioner.

Vincent J. Dopko, Deputy Attorney General, with him, LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Colins, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 435]

The Petitioner in the case before us is Frederick F. Reed, who is the Recorder of Deeds of Northumberland County. He appeals from an order of the Board of Finance and Revenue (Board) denying his petition for resettlement of his account. We affirm.

The parties have stipulated to the following pertinent facts: On May 7, 1980, an attorney appeared at

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 436]

Petitioner's office and presented a deed and mortgage for recording. The deed was executed and notarized on April 28, 1980, and was from the Churchill Coal Corporation, grantor, to Spruce, Inc., grantee. It recited a consideration of $560,000. The attorney tendered checks for the payment of the recording fee and state and local realty transfer taxes. The latter two checks, each for $5,600, were drawn on accounts of grantor and grantee. The deed was then file-stamped and put through the recording process of being recorded in the day book, indexed, microfilmed, and entered into the Deed Book. This process was completed by May 8, 1980.

The two realty transfer tax checks are the focus of this controversy. Entirely by chance, grantor's $5,600 was deposited in the bank account of "Frederick F. Reed, Recorder of Deeds and Agent for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," and cleared in due course. Grantee's check had been deposited in Petitioner's local transfer tax checking account, but an employee of grantee notified Petitioner on or about May 8, 1980 that the check had been mistakenly drawn on the wrong account, and that payment was being stopped. A replacement check was promised, but, despite numerous telephone calls, never received. Petitioner notified grantee that he was setting a deadline for payment and that he would "void" the transaction if it was not received. On May 27, 1980, having received no payment, Petitioner entered the notation "void" on the deed in the Deed Book and the Index. He then drew a check on the aforementioned account of "Frederick F. Reed, Recorder of Deeds and Agent for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" in the amount of $5,600 and returned it to the attorney who presented the document.

As a result, the Department of Revenue (Department) issued a Notice of Settlement to Petitioner,

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 437]

    wherein it noted a deficiency and requested payment of $5,544 ($5,600 minus Petitioner's 1% commission on collections). His petition for resettlement was denied by the Department. Petitioner's further appeal to ...


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