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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, December 05, 2013

NorCo Revenue Appeals Board Gives Easton Official A Tax Break

Silk Mill
On Monday, Northampton County's Revenue Appeals Board reduced the assessment at the Wolf Building, located in Easton. You see, developer Mark Mulligan has an agreement to purchase that property from the County, and Easton officials have done everything in their power to help him.

He's developing the Silk Mill project all by his lonesome, even though there's room for three or four developers there. He's benefited from $7 million in RCAP grants at the Silk Mill, as well as another $2 million at the Pomeroy Building.

But they love him because he used to sing opera.

A KOZ application, if granted by the state, will excuse Mulligan from paying virtually any taxes at this site, including property taxes. But Easton officials Richard McAteer and Gretchen Longenbach were taking no chances. They were behind the illegal push to reduce assessment on the property. McAteer, who sits on that Board, incredibly gave his proxy to another Board member to reduce the assessment.

In addition to his position on the Revenue Appeals Board, McAteer also chairs the Easton Redevelopment Authority, where Longenbach is Executive Director. And it just so happens that McAteer's Board is playing favorites among certain Easton-connected property owners, as they clearly did with Mulligan. Longenbach herself might have been given a tax break, I've been told. I decided to check.

It's true. At a hearing before the Revenue Appeals Board on August 27, she was given a tax break at one of two properties she owns in Bethlehem. The assessment at a Riverport Condo unit was reduced from $75,500 to $51,200. Another unit, located right beside her, is still assessed at $75,500.

I'm sure McAteer had a proxy vote all lined up just in case.


Anonymous said...

so....no public officials are allowed to challenge their property assesments?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Not when they are using inside connections to get it over on the public. I looked at the deeds prepared by her father. He was at that time the Solicitor to Northampton County, and prepared them. He prepared two deeds for his daughter, one in. 2010 and one in 2011. Both of these deeds are notarized by Gins Gibbs. At that time she was a clerk in the solicitor's office, and Longenbach was obviously using her to do his personal work. So we actually have two Longenbachs taking advantage of connections.

Incidentally, Gina Gibbs eventually became Register of Wills, and was promoted over someone else with more experience and qualifications. She was obviously rewarded for being longenbach's secretary on county time.

This is what happens in a world where being connected to the right people is more important.

Anonymous said...

When were the RCAP grants awarded? I thought they were awarded long before Mulligan came into town. And why throw the city under the bus when they work with developers of all levels. KOZ,LERTA, RCAPS, and others are tools offered by states and local governments to jump start local economies. I'd say the city of Easton has done very well in that category. I for one am very happy that he is here and doing projects that have been long abandoned by others.

Anonymous said...

Callahan insider Karner was part of this. Bobby D. get ready for some Callahan sleaze.

Anonymous said...

They will sprinkle their dust on you and next week you will writing good things about them. Amplifies their influence.

Anonymous said...

Wait, I'm confused. Didn't everyone at Riverport appeal their taxes? There was an initiative by residents to appeal all together....how is that a gift to Longenbach? Article skews the facts just a bit. I'm a Riverport owner and reduced my taxes too as did my neighbors.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This was a separate appeal by Longenbach on her own. Look at the property next to her, identical, and stil assessed at the higher value.