Politically Influential County Vendor Hasn’t Paid Property Taxes In 24 Years

Joan Unis as pictured in this photo released by the Attorney General's Office in 2006

Joan Unis as pictured in this photo released by the Attorney General’s Office in 2006

A politically influential vendor who has done in excess of $1 million in business with the county hasn’t paid taxes on dozens of different properties for over 24 years, an investigation by the Beaver Countian has uncovered.

Joan Unis, owner of Unis Demolition in Aliquippa, owes approximately $500,000 in unpaid property taxes dating back to the 1990s according to county tax claim dockets examined by the Beaver Countian. The properties owned by Unis span the county and include parcels in Aliquippa, Bridgewater, Center, East Rochester, Freedom, Harmony, Hopewell, Monaca, Ohioville, Patterson, Potter, Rochester Borough, Rochester Township, and South Heights.

County records show that property taxes for Unis Demolition’s headquarters at 1306 Maratta Road in Aliquippa haven’t been paid since 1989 and are currently $39,192.85 in arrears. Another property owned by Unis on Bunker Hill Road in Center Township is currently $71,701.26 past due on its property tax payments. Other amounts in arrears include $32,635.94 for a property on Jordan Street in South Heights and $30,549 for a property on Scenic Drive in Hopewell.

Tax claim records examined by the Beaver Countian appear to show Unis owes municipal, school, and county property taxes dating back nearly two dozen years on dozens of parcels. A cross reference of those records with county assessment records confirm the properties in question are all still deeded to Unis.

According to the Beaver County Tax Claim Bureau, the collection of back taxes on properties should be a three year process. During the first year a parcel is delinquent, the property owner is notified about the amount owed and a fee is assessed. In year two, interest continues to accrue at a rate of 9% and the property is scheduled for auction at an upset sale. If the property is not sold at an upset sale, it then goes up for judicial sale in the third year. If the property still doesn’t sell it is placed into repository and can be sold by the county at any time a potential buyer becomes available.

County records show many of the properties owned by Unis were scheduled for upset sale in the early 1990s, until a bankruptcy proceeding put a halt to those collection actions. Following federal law, the Tax Claim Bureau ceases collection activity until a bankruptcy is completed. But the bankruptcy filing by Unis was never registered as completed by the Beaver County Tax Claim Bureau, leaving dozens of properties to continue on for decades with no taxes being paid by Unis and no collection activities being initiated by Beaver County.

Municipal and school taxes are collected by local tax collectors from each town, while county taxes are collected by Beaver County Treasurer Connie Javens. All back taxes are collected by the Beaver County Tax Claim Bureau.

Courthouse sources tell the Beaver Countian that Treasurer Javens routinely makes it a point to meet with Joan Unis’ son, Ralph Unis Jr., in her office to personally hand him checks for work Unis Demolition does for the county. Sources inside of Monaca say Unis recently completed work to clear a property for Javens on a location where a home is being built for her son.

The Beaver Countian met with Chief County Assessor Michael P. Kohlman today who searched county records and confirmed the various amounts owed by Unis, and also confirmed no collection actions have been taken by the county in the 24 years since dozens of properties fell into delinquent status. Kohlman said he was unaware of the issue before the Beaver Countian brought the matter to his attention.

Beaver County Commissioner Dennis Nichols said he was stunned to hear about the scope of the delinquencies and the time frames involved when the Beaver Countian brought up the issue. Commissioner Nichols said he is instructing the Tax Claims Bureau to investigate the matter and has vowed to get to the bottom of it.

Joan Unis was arrested back in 2006 along with her son Ralph Jr. by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office for illegally dumping demolition debris in Aliquippa. Joan and Ralph Unis were each charged with one count of illegal waste disposal, illegal operation of a waste facility and creating a public nuisance. Charges were eventually dropped against Joan Unis after her son Ralph pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement in the case that saw him serve a period of probation and pay a fine.

Despite the prior criminal charges against the proprietors of Unis Demolition, and the apparent growing mountain of unpaid tax liabilities by one of its owners, the county continues to contract with the company to tear down dilapidated properties. Courthouse sources tell the Beaver Countian that Unis Demolition is falling behind on its obligations with many of its demolition contracts with the county, causing an increase in unresolved blight problems for municipalities including Aliquippa and Midland.

The Beaver Countian discovered the apparent property tax issues involving Unis as part of a series of ongoing investigations it is conducting into the City of Aliquippa.

Joan Unis could not be reached by this publication for comment.

Beaver County Tax Claims Dockets

Beaver County Tax Claims Dockets as of May 29, 2014

Photo released in 2006 by the Attorney General's Office of the illegal Unis dump site in Aliquippa

Photo released in 2006 by the Attorney General’s Office of the illegal Unis dump site in Aliquippa

 

72 comments

  1. They’ll investigate, and nothing will be done, just like usual, but let a lady have a 6 dollar debt on hers, and oh lawd, we just gotta get THAT property, dammit!!! Just business as usual in Beaver County…

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  2. Hmmmm old Joan got a situation here.

    Heard javens been little pissed at ralphie for not doing enough for her, sounds like she showing her power and causing some problems , maybe they should check how her house is taxed and some other family BET it would be a shocking.

    Seeeeeeee if Nichols gets to the bottom of the big big cash that county loses in taxes from her…..

    That Courthouse is a toilet bowl and other side with the…

    Republicans on state level is just as bad, play one day against WAM and earmarks but now running around giving them out to help CORBETT

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    • Listen, everybody knows the democrats have been in office way too long. Republicans are not just as bad. Republicans are the only chance this county has. Corbett will hold in the Fall. Republicans will continue to rule Harrisburg and all will be well. Look at the great job their doing.

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    • lol, CORBETT will win over Wolf, the republicans will  have a field day with this guy and even more with his running mate. Beaver County starting to get a education on bums in the courthouse. Republicans are county’s only chance of ridding scum dems get rich schemes as row officers.

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  3. David, Betters, Unis………Birds of a feather flock together….

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  4. Unbelievable.  The scope of this is just beyond anything.

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  5. SpeakTheTruthToo

    Bust out that checkbook Joan. You been busted.

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  6. everybody knows insider privileges these people need to go to jail.

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  7. Ahh, what else is new in Beaver County. It will continue until the citizens start to attend town and county meetings and speak out.

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  8. That is bullshit that nobody knew this. All you have to do is pull up a list of delinquent taxes and it sticks out like a sore thumb. People should be fired immediately

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  9. This is another tentacle in the corruption that has existed in Beaver County since at least the 1930′s.  Originating in Aliquippa union/democratic politics, and power consolidated into the hands of a few ‘families’, this has now become a countywide cancer, centered in the court house.
    What’s developed is a perverted caste system, where there are 2 sets of rules, one for the family elites, and another for the rest of us.  We’ve tended to tolerate this, all of us, because we’ve mistakenly believed that the elites were protecting us, all the while not recognizing that it was these very people setting up systems that organized the criminal enterprises (first gambling, now drugs) that create the danger in the first place.  It’s anti-freedom in every aspect.

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    • All good points, just forgot most important point, these people need voted out of office. Not all of them but most of them need to go

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    • True, eddiemerchant. It comes down to a socio-cultural problem. I have written about it before, and it is a very real thing. The offenders are bad, but one has to look at the people and culture that enable them as well.

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    • As if the tentacles of the Republicans would be any less slimey and corrupt.  Look what you have in Congress.  Are you on crack, or what?  It would be worse!

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  10. I wouldnt let Javens run a cash register in Sheetz let alone the county treasury!

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  11. i never knew about the search  so i just pulled it up and noticed some very interesting names in quip politics on that list !  Same shit different players,

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  12. Everybody that works in the tax collector office needs fined for this. But this is not surprising at all

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  13. Some of these properties have a status of bankruptcy. I wonder how that figures into the calculations. Still, the remaining outstanding property taxes owed are staggering in size and number. Also, the unpaid taxes in the “general” dockets are also staggering, and I wonder if there is a systemic problem in tax collection in general, and why. If there is tax “forgiveness” for friends, by Connie Javens’ office, though, it is much more troubling than George David’s cut-rate permits for friends, and must be illegal. I have a feeling that there is much more to this than you report here. This suggests tax collection problems at all levels, and it raises many, many questions. 

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    • Curious Georgie

      but how could someone be in bankruptcy for over 20 years?  doesn’t make sense.  none of this makes sense.

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      • Good point, Curious Georgie. I don’t know. I think that much will be learned from this article, because the tax “breaks” don’t make sense. Now, I feel naive about the tax collection practices around here. And, I am REALLY PISSED OFF. I pay thousands of dollars each year for local and county taxes, and I want to avoid penalties, like everyone else. Then this crap surfaces, and I really have to question what the hell these people are doing there in the courthouse. 

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      • No such thing as bankruptcy for 20 years!

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    • Raven, I’ve observed over the years that generally speaking Democrats are very good at levying taxes, but not particularly good at collecting them.  In this case, I think it goes beyond competence and instead involves conspiracy which I wrote about earlier.  

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    • Bankruptcy will only protect you if you are still in the discharged state. As soon as it is closed you are exposed to fines and having your property sold just like any (normal) home owners. I know I was 5 years behind and have been paying since the beginning of the year. Mine are almost paid off. This stuff happening is against the law, period. They won’t put you in jail but they should be selling all of her properties.

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      • PS, bankruptcy does not expel property taxes or school loans, but it will get rid of medical bills. I did a chapter 7. It is still difficult to deal with but as long as you don’t need a bank you will survive. Even got a car loan at 4% interest.

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  14. Nikki exactly how did that lady lose her house over 6 bucks and this shit goes on, its who you are and who you know. How do people get away with not paying there taxes ? 

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  15. Don’t worry next county election the courthouse will be cleaned out! Say goodbye to Javens, David, Spanik, Amaido, and Nichols. I heard the republicans have a few candidates ready to run for commissioners office, and I could care less if it’s DEM or REP who get the seats in office just as long as there’s CHANGE so both parties need to step there game up!

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  16. It’s a shame how these ppl get away with it! They need treated like everyone else that does not pay! Makes me sick to my stomach. I work hard for a living and to read this is just absurd!

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  17. This isn’t a commissioner problem until today.

    This looks like Treasurer and Tax claim issue compounded with someone turning the cheek and these creeps getting a pass.

    Now is when you check to see who else is, what the personnel that played role in this crime was involved then fix it and hold is or was accountable.

    But if CONNIE JAVENS had property cleared and by this company and didn’t claim it as a gift or got favorable price, that’s criminal, and might be a vendor that was either in on it or was being shook down.

    What’s really SAD, is over LAST FEW MONTHS ….

    We have seen CONNIE JAVENS family get million dollar contracts renewed.

    New contracts for other family created for hair styling with sale of friendship ridge. And only after the employee family member was fired, the same one gets contract.

    Family member arrested after being shot in Lawrence county on a robbery

    A son arrested for attempted murder after shooting gun in her own home and wife fearing for her life( trial to come they are playing the cooling off period to let sttention quiet)

    That’s just what I remember of recent now this looks really strange and seems like it goes deeper and she isn’t alone.

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  18. The only R in the court house is County Commissioner Dennis Nichols, who’s nothing but a fake republican, no wonder state caucus  can’t stomach him. Majority of residents bust their asses to keep a shingle over their heads let alone pay all the ridiculous taxes. Don’t need anymore lifer dirty politicians running the county. These people think their special and mighty – kickbacks from vendors, getting family/friends high paying jobs and turning their heads to courthouse gangsters who were elected, it’s a wonder the place hasn’t been buried in hell from a sink hole.

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  19. Not long ago there were postings about a woman who had struggled to pay her taxes after the death of her husband. She thought she was paid up but apparently owed several more dollars which she was not aware of. Those several dollars became a couple hundred due to penalties at which point her 200K+ house was sold out at tax sale.

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    • that she is still living in with her boyfriend!!!!   Her house was posted!!!  she chose to ignore it  CV school taxes too not county!!! 

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      • Pickle, you must be related to either Javens or the pickled brain that let this widow’s home sell at auction over $6.30 in unpaid interest of school taxes. R U kidding me? So who gives a flying F if she lives with 6 men, she’s allowed. So you justify her home selling because of $6.30? But the lady in the mug shot above owes a million in back taxes, and her last name is Unis. I forgot, we’re in Beaver County. Laws don’t apply to the cash in hand folks. It’s pickled brains that keep voting these jokers in…but hey, you’re kind at least keeps the local bars in business.

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  20. The only way to cure this problem is to vote ALL incumbents OUT of office. If your in office today, your not in tomorrow.  Beaver County needs a new slogan,   “INCUMBENTS BE GONE”

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  21. All you previous posters pipe down now! You serfs will continue your steady diet of fast food, aspartame, nicotine, alcohol, and prescription meds…oh yeah and lottery addiction! And you will not question the man behind the curtain! Is this clear? If you little ants ever find out that you out number these grasshoppers a million to one it would be the end of their way of life! But you won’t because with enlightenment comes responsibility, and nobody’s having that now are they?

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    • MustNotBeEnlightenedEnough

      And what, sir or maddam, do you propose we do?  Even if we did “realize we out number these grasshoppers a million to one” and become “enlightened,” what should we do?  Threaten violence?  Protest? Go on strikes?  Explain to me how our numbers against theirs changes anything. 

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      • Mungo’s solution is simple! Non Participation as a form of civil disobedience. Stop feeding the system and it will wither, learn and practice all methods as such and the system “as we know it” will cease to exist! Mungo will cite one example, and then my friend it’s up to you to research and implement what you see fit. Jury Nullification! Nuff said!

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      • The FBI investigates corrupt public officials. Anyone can submit a tip online.

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      • The Internet Tip Line (ITL) was created on 9/11/01, in response to the terrorist attacks upon America. We quickly established a mechanism for the public to submit information to the FBI via the Internet, and we have thus far received over 2,850,000 tips from around the globe. Our operation is completely automated and paperless. Professional Support personnel and Special Agents review tips within minutes after they are received and set leads to FBI Field Offices or Legal Attaché offices, as appropriate.

        We encourage you tell your family, friends, and co-workers about this service, and we hope that you will continue to utilize it to submit information that may be of interest to the FBI. Again, thank you for taking the time to forward this report to us.

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      • wtf, We quickly established………., we have thus far…………. We? By your statements, one would surmise you are a FED. Impersonating a federal agent is a rather serious offense. Perhaps one should report you for impersonating an FBI agent. And if your not impersonating, what the hell are you waiting for, do your damn job.

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    • Cracker-fuck you. It is not my job. That is a response I got from the FBI on another matter. I never said I was FBI

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  22. At yesterday’s Commissioner’s meeting [5/29/14] Dennis Nichols questioned why Unis was still receiving demolition contracts when she was in breach of multiple county contracts.

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  23. It’s different if your a …………I guess that is how they get rich……by not having to pay what the little people pay. Socialism is good for the 1%.

    Whomever thought it sunk to the local level. I sure thought the crooks were all in Washington.

    Semper Fi

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  24. And Unis had a million dollar contract to tear down the old mill buildings in Ambridge to make way for the new shopping center. No excuses for not having the money. Ralph, pay back is a bitch.

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  25. Hand over fist gets further with all the crooks in this damned county.. I think the state should step in until all is solved. The ones like unis need to be held accountable for and all those in the court house who turned a cheek! What more can the honest hard working Beaver County residents been lied too while we live with little to none of a good life of having money to be happy, take a look out in the public and we all see folks that bust their backs to pay their bills including taxes not have much to spend.. I’m disgusted with the way our country has become, our county should be better than this! David is a joke for sheriff, Betters is a land and money thug, Javens is a useless tax collector! I hope this story makes it out and residents posts signs across the street of all of unis properties with amount owed so people will become aware! And for all the demolition sites that have unis post signs that they owe money and still making money to live a luxury life!

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  26. What? You can garnish someone’s paycheck for back child support, but the county won’t garnish the checks they are paying to Unis to cover the owner’s back taxes? The Attorney General needs to step in and investigate any services for private projects county employees have been getting from this company. Good investigative reporting.

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    • That is an excellent suggestion, the garnishing of monies from Unis, until all their debt is either settled or properties are sold, with the monies going towards their debt.

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  27. @ David lozier, you failed to point out I researched that vote, Dennis Nichols questioned work being done at that pace and not fulfilled….. BUT STILL VOTED FOR THE DAMN THING.

    that’s like Marshall saying he against WAMS and taxes …. but joined Vogel at the hip to introduce CROWS RUN PROJECT

    WHICH IS A JOKE, IT WAS A TAX THAT WILL HELP CRANBERRY… paid for by gas abd vehicle registrations being raised, and was done to help CORBETT…

    THIS county needs to be completely kicked up, plain as day amongst million this treasurer has milked from county, she opppppppps doesn’t notice a slew of taxes not getting paid and oppps it’s the person she gets work done from?

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  28. what else is new George david betters unis they are all making money off the taxpayer

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  29. And it took 24 years to find this out?? Guess it pays off to know the right people! They all need held accountable

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  30. What a shame. This is wrong on so many levels. The citizens of Beaver County should refuse to pay their county taxes until they see resolution to this issue and should file a class action lawsuit against the commissioners and the assessors office for mismanagement. Look, it didn’t start with Kohlman, it has been going on for decades. Great reporting!

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  31. It’s all in the last name in this county!

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  32. Beaver county courthouse crooked….sounds about right

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  33. The lady in Center lost her house over like 6 bucks!!!!???? This is so wrong! I hate Beaver County! I tell you what the economy sucks and now you got the Phoenix Glass thing!! I tell you that company is not going to recover from this shut down and financial mess they are in! Residents ARE LEAVING the area and I can’t blame them! The only thing we offer is a rising crime rate and unemployment rate which will cause more drug dealers to set up shop!

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  34. And our cities pay them to tear down their buildings! Aren’t they the company scheduled to tear down St. Marys church…have torn down several in Ellwood and the property next to mine has been sitting for a year waiting for them to finish.

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  35. So, what are they going to do about this???

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  36. Didn’t a judge in beaver county just take a widows home for a little over $6 in inpaid taxes? Where is the justice?

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  37. 24 years…. Wow. Must be nice. Can we have 24 years of our taxes back?

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  38. how in gods name can widow lose her home for 6 dollars and we have unis not paying taxes for 24 years. when is someone going to pull the handle on that toilet we call a court house and flush that shit away connie javens can you explain this one I can its called corruption

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  39. Does anybody know if that dump on Maratta Road has ever been cleaned up? If I remember correctly, didn’t they get fined by the DEP and ordered to clean that dump site up?

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  40. Will she end up repaying her debt ?? Doubt it……

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  41. I bet she never repays her debt either…..

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  42. All I know is that Unis started a job for us in August and won’t finish. He asked for most of the money while he was working on the property and then left the job and hasn’t come back. From my understanding, that is his MO. He is like a big tumbleweed that gathers money from everyone and continues on down the road! I am very offended that Spanik is defending his honor. HE HAS NONE!!!!!

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