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.