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JOHN D. MEHALIC AND CLARENCE J. MEHALIC v. WESTMORELAND COUNTY TAX CLAIM BUREAU (12/02/87)

decided: December 2, 1987.

JOHN D. MEHALIC AND CLARENCE J. MEHALIC, CO-PARTNERS, T/D/B/A UNITY STEREO PAK, APPELLANTS
v.
WESTMORELAND COUNTY TAX CLAIM BUREAU, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County in the case of John D. Mehalic and Clarence J. Mehalic, co-partners, t/d/b/a Unity Stereo Pak v. Westmoreland County Tax Claim Bureau, No. 881 of 1986.

COUNSEL

Daniel J. Hewitt, Godlewski & Hewitt, for appellants.

Aaron M. Kress, Assistant County Solicitor, with him, Debra M. Nicholson, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 399]

John and Clarence Mehalic (Appellants) appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, which confirmed the private tax sale of Appellants' property for delinquent taxes. We affirm.

Appellants owned property in Unity Township, Westmoreland County. The property was assessed in the name of Unity Stereo Pak, a business that Appellants

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 400]

    operated as a partnership. The property's assessed value was $17,380. Taxes were delinquent against the property for the years 1978 through 1984. As a result of these delinquencies, Appellants' property was exposed to tax sale by the Westmoreland County Tax Claim Bureau (Bureau) for several years. By the date of the last relevant public tax sale in this case, September 9, 1985, the amount owed by Appellants totaled $5,374.99 (including delinquent taxes, penalties, interest and costs). The property was not sold at any public tax sale.

On December 20, 1985, an offer to purchase the property for $3,250 at private sale was made pursuant to the provisions of Section 613 of the Real Estate Tax Sale Law (Law).*fn1 Acting pursuant to Section 613, the Bureau sent notice to the various taxing bodies and Appellants.*fn2 Appellants then filed a petition with the court of common pleas asking that the proposed private sale be disapproved. Paragraph eight of the petition averred, "[y]our [p]etitioners are able to begin regular and substantial payments towards the taxes due, including costs and interest thereon." After a hearing, the trial court confirmed the sale. This appeal follows.

We note initially that our scope of review over a proposed private sale under Section 613 is limited to determining whether the trial court abused its discretion. Schuylkill County Tax Claim Bureau v. Tremont Township, 104 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 338, 522 A.2d 102 (1987). Pursuant to Section 613, the trial court may confirm the sale if it is "just and proper."

Initially, Appellants allege that the trial court abused its discretion in ...


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