Thursday, December 30, 2010

Did BPA Give Pektor Sweetheart Deal on Parking Deck?

Yesterday, I told you about Mayor John Callahan's botched attempt to remove Hector Nemes as the Executive Director at the Bethlehem Parking Authority. I also mentioned that Callahan pressured them in 2009 to purchase the parking deck behind the Main Street Commons, which was then owned Lou Pektor's Ashley Development. Northampton County Assessment records reveal that the property was purchased for $1.6 million. This has some City insiders scratching their heads. They say a pre-purchase appraisal valued the property for much less, possibly as low as $600,000.

Later that day, I checked the records at the Courthouse. They identify Lou Pektor's Rubel Street LP as the seller. The property was conveyed for $1.6 million, but an attorney's affidavit concerning realty transfer tax contains an acknowledgment that, at that time, assessment valuations placed the property at only $1.25 million.

It increasingly appears that Bethlehem Parking Authority paid more for this property than it was worth.

And that's not all. At the time the Deed was recorded, so was an agreement under which Pektor is entitled to an unspecified number of parking spaces for twenty years. He even has an option to extend that for another twenty years.

So basically, Bethlehem Parking Authority paid between $350,000 to $1,000,000 more than the parking deck was worth while simultaneously allowing Pektor to park an unspecified number of his own vehicles there without charge for the next 20 to 40 years.

This is beginning to look like a sweetheart deal.

Pektor has long contributed to Callahan's city campaign coffers, and has been the recipient of numerous grants and for the rehabilitation of various Bethlehem projects, including the conversion of the Orr's building into Main Street Commons.

Next week I'll be filing a Right to Know Law request to inspect the pre-purchase appraisals. If you have any suggestions on other things I should seek from the Parking Authority, let me know.

Interestingly, I was told the property was purchased with RCAP grant funds. But real estate records reveal that at the time of purchase, the parking deck was encumbered with two mortgages to KNBT, one for $1.7 million and the other for $1.55 million. I thought banks no longer lend more than a property is worth.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

most corrupt and double dealing administration the land of the midnight transfer has ever seen

Anonymous said...

What You forgot to mention is that Hector Nemes Executive Director of the Bethlehem Parking Authority had no choice He was ordered by the Mayor thru the board to buy that deck..even after He made them aware of the issues with the deck!!! And if You dig Further You will find that Pinonnie also was the Mayors order.....hmmmmmm....seeing any pattern here??

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, I understand that Callahan is behind this.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

You should also check to see when the original owner of the deck, BEDCO, sold it to the city. Pektor owned the land and BEDCO owned the deck which was paid for, in part, with a state grant.

Of course BEDCO hasnb't met in years and JOhn C controls that board 100%

Anonymous said...

BEDCO never owned the deck. It was built by Orr's Dept store.

Anonymous said...

that deck was a death trap before the via took it over. instead of paying over $2 mil. the city should have threatened to claim eminent domain.

Anonymous said...

The original deck was built by Orr's. The expanded deck was built by BEDCO. They received a $700,000 grant from Joe Uliana when he was state senator.

Pektor's people designed the deck but were outbid on his own job by Bracy Contracting. Pektor owned the land and BCO owned the deck.

Anonymous said...

I hear John Stoffa is going to give lessons in how to sleep with your eyes open when attending meetings. He has a PhD in it so it should be good.

Happy New Year and may your Kwanzaa be Merry

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah. More of the same from Bernie. Streeeeeeeetching facts and posing questions to create the look of corruption where they don't exist. It's interesting this blog is really a study in citizen lunacy. It's like the bench at the bus stop with the old stooges just rambling on about all the scourges of society. But really nothing is wrong, they are just grumpy and old and a little loony. This blog is the bus stop bench. And you're the male chauvinist who just wants to whistle at ladies and talk about how all races besides whites cause all the issues on the south side. Good work Bernard, you're quite the newsman.