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LAWRENCE MARRA v. TAX CLAIM BUREAU LUZERNE COUNTY (09/27/89)

decided: September 27, 1989.

LAWRENCE MARRA, APPELLANT,
v.
THE TAX CLAIM BUREAU OF LUZERNE COUNTY, APPELLEE



Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Luzerne County; Honorable Robert J. Hourigan, Judge.

COUNSEL

William R. Keller, Wilkes Barre, for appellant.

John J. Terrana, Kingston, for appellee.

Crumlish, Jr., President Judge, Colins, J., and Narick, Senior Judge.

Author: Crumlish

Lawrence Marra appeals a Luzerne County Common Pleas Court order dismissing his petition to cancel a scheduled public hearing and sale of three properties owned by Luzerne County (County). We affirm.

The County acquired the properties by purchase at a public sale for tax delinquency. Subsequently, the County sought to sell the properties pursuant to the Real Estate Tax Sale Law (Tax Sale Law),*fn1 which prescribes several procedures, three of which are pertinent to this appeal: (1) Section 612.1, 72 P.S. § 5860.612-1, authorizes the County to petition the common pleas court to schedule a hearing and sale after published notice; (2) Section 613, 72 P.S. § 5860.613, provides for private bid sales, with published notice of the proposed sale and an opportunity for formal objections by interested parties; and (3) Section 627, 72 P.S. § 5860.627, applicable only to properties within a special class known as "repository" property, authorizes acceptance of an offer at any price without court approval and published notice.*fn2

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 592]

In this case, the County filed a petition under Section 612.1, requesting the common pleas court to schedule a public hearing and sale. The trial court fixed a date for the sale and ordered publication of notice thereof in accordance with Section 612.1.

Marra filed a petition to cancel the sale, alleging that the County's Tax Claim Bureau (Bureau) had already agreed to sell him the properties for $100.00 apiece, pursuant to the repository procedure in Section 627. The trial court dismissed Marra's petition, finding that he had no binding contract with the Bureau, and rejecting his legal argument that Section 627 precluded use of other statutory procedures for selling such properties.

On appeal, Marra contends that Section 627, governing the sale of "repository properties," preempts any authority to conduct a private bid sale under Section 613. Therefore, he argues, the trial court had no jurisdiction to entertain the County's petition. This contention is misdirected. The County petitioned to schedule a public sale pursuant to Section 612.1, not Section 613 governing private bid procedures. Marra does not contend that Section 627 preempts Section 612.1. Thus, his argument provides no basis for holding that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear the County's petition.*fn3

However, inasmuch as Marra claims, apparently as an alternative argument, that he has also submitted a private bid for the same properties under Section 613, we will address the merits of his contention.

The express legislative purpose behind Section 627 is "to establish a procedure" for disposing of repository properties, 72 P.S. § ...


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