The Beaver County Tax Claim Bureau is preparing to auction off dozens of properties owned by a politically influential county vendor. The move follows an investigative report published by the Beaver Countian which first revealed the vendor owed property taxes dating back over two decades that the county never attempted to collect.

A May 29th report by the Beaver Countian showed that Joan Unis, owner of Unis Demolition in Aliquippa, owes approximately $500,000 in unpaid property taxes (including municipal, school, and county tax) originating back to the 1990s.

Following the publication of that report, Chief County Assessor Michael P. Kohlman conducted an investigation into properties owned by Unis which confirmed the Beaver Countian’s findings.

“They’ll soon be getting notice of sale,” Kohlman told the Beaver Countian on Friday. “The notices will be going out in July for an upset tax sale on the 2nd Monday in September.”

Kohlman’s investigation confirmed that the county originally halted collection efforts back in 1992 on 51 properties owned by Joan Unis after she filed for bankruptcy protection. That bankruptcy was closed in 1996 when the courts set up a 72 month payoff plan. But the case was reopened by creditors just months later and converted from a Chapter 11 (reorganization) to a Chapter 7 (liquidation) Bankruptcy.

In March 2003 an outside law firm contracted by the county to monitor bankruptcy cases for the Tax Claims Bureau confirmed the Unis’ case was still active. But they then came out of bankruptcy on September 18th of that same year. According to Michael Kohlman, that is when an error occurred that prevented the county from attempting to take collection actions. “For some reason, we were never noticed that the Unis family came out of bankruptcy, so our collection efforts continued to be halted until [the Beaver Countian] brought the matter to light.”

Kohlman said the Unis family owes back property taxes on 82 separate properties, 31 of which are already in the county repository because collection actions on those parcels occurred before the original bankruptcy was filed. Unis could be given the option of a payment plan to prevent the auctioning of the properties, pending approval by the County Board of Commissioners.

The investigative report by the Beaver Countian triggered a series of public accusations being made between Democratic Commissioner Joe Spanik and Republican Commissioner Dennis Nichols, with both men implying the other may have been receiving kickbacks from various county vendors.

Joan Unis did not return a message left for her by this publication seeking comment.


  1. Well well! When you finally get exposed things start to happen! But is that supposed to make up for the Unis cover up? I think not! Let’s see what happens now! A diversion tactic will not work here! Thank you for exposing these tax cheats!

  2. It is one thing to say this is going to happen and that is going to happen. It is another thing to follow through with it. However, I’m sure JP will keep on top of this to make sure there is follow through.

  3. “For some reason, we were never noticed that the Unis family came out of bankruptcy…”  Who would have been the person(s) to “notice” him?

  4. Don’t you dare give them a payment plan. That poor lady who owed $6 wasn’t given a payment plan. Grandma Unis has had over 20 years to pay the taxes. 20 years. Not only should the commercial properties we auctioned, her private residence should be seized if necessary. Unbelievable.

  5. “How DEEP does this go?” These articles beg this question. How many OTHER  people are in the Connie Javens Tax Break Club, and who are they? Who else has not been “noticed” to Kohlman? And why? I have a bad, bad feeling that this could be much, much worse. It is highly unlikely that Unis is the only beneficiary of tax breaks, and that Javens is the only person involved. Other people in the Treasurer’s office, and elsewhere, would have to have helped or enabled it. And if that is true, this could be the scandal of the century, because taxes are the lifeblood of the County, and exploitation of them becomes immediately illegal.

    • Any and all offices involved with taxes and the collection of need a thorough forensic auditing by an OUTSIDE company with ZERO ties to ANYONE in the Courthouse.

  6. Unreal looks like moor properties were bought after the fact. and no one said a word. scum bags leadership with no morals that’s what’s in the courthouse. you know what the word is. don’t create waves and you get rewarded.this makes me sick. I struggle to pay my taxes . my other people still without building permits. cheat the system abuse of authority and pat them self on the back

  7. No wonder the county couldn’t afford Friendship Ridge. It was supporting the tax cheats. How many others are there like the Unis’s.

  8. Outstanding work JP. Me thinks it would be a real good time to get into the demolition business since Unis’ ticket just got punched. Any contracts they held with the county or local municipalities should be cancelled and awarded to another contractor.
    I await to see who’s next under the microscope, Betters maybe??
    Morey David??

  9. I just so happen to be reading the Times Online Mug Shot Monday. Some of the people pictured for ALL TO SEE were; an older gentleman, arrested for trespassing, another man didn’t pay child support, another driving on a suspended license, etc. Funny thing occurred to me while looking at these people who committed such heinous crimes. Seems there is much bigger fish to fry in Beaver County. The fact remains; a Beaver County prominent family manages to never be held accountable for paying property taxes in 25 years which is outlandish. What could be more insulting to the people of Beaver County? THE PERSON OR PERSONS THAT COVERED IT UP!  This is a real crime and one that the people responsible for hiding the Unis family’s 25 years of delinquent taxes need be exposed and brought to justice. Instead of the faces of trespassers and dead beat Dads, let’s see some faces who scammed Beaver County out of a half million in tax dollars. Let’s see those pictures appear on Mug Shot Monday. “Don’t anyone hold your breath”!! 

  10. The Beaver County Tmes gives no credit in its Unis tax articles today, Tuesday, 6/10/14, to John Paul for uncovering this whole matter.

    • I just read too it Raven and it’s even worse than that.  Reporter David Taube lies in the article to avoid giving credit to John Paul.  Here is what he reported “Kohlman recently reviewed the properties and discovered the properties’ status.” Every body who reads this site knows why the county is really collecting taxes from Unis now and it is not because the county found an ‘error’ on their own! Shame on the Beaver County Times and shame on their lackey reporter David Taube!

      • @Mole Mountain: And THAT makes Shane Fitzgerald a co-conspirator. Taube is Fitzgerald’s tool, and Fitzgerald controls content and had to have known the article content and either edited it or permitted it before publication, when he knew the facts were otherwise. As I pointed out in the Times’ tribute to Dwan Walker article, intentional omission is a lie, it’s a half-truth that enables these politicians. The Times reporters might keep their jobs, but they are selling their soles for them. Fitzgerald is not the Great Hope he marketed himself to be when he took over. He has become part of the problem by soft-peddling the news. He has become one of them, and he deserves no respect or being taken seriously. I’ll go the added leap of tea leaf reading — sometime in the future, he will be directly linked to these politicos, and he too will be part of the news. Maybe then, he will give John Paul credit.

    • @Raven: Are you surprised in the least? Of course they wouldn’t give any kind of credit to the person who did the legwork and gathered the information, for two reasons. 1. It makes them look even more inept at their job, since they are not an investigative news source, they basically print what they are told/paid to. 2. They can’t afford to mention JP or the BeaverCountian, for fear of losing the few readers they have left.

  11. The Midland police charge Ralph E. Unis, Jr. with theft and receiving stolen property. Looks like the flood gates are opening for his contractors to get a piece of Ralphie before he goes down the toilet. 
    (“souls” not soles above)

    • Raven you should hear how David Taube talks about John Paul behind his back around the courthouse.  It is very unprofessional.

      • Taube is a newbie wannabe political reporter. He can’t hold a candle to John Paul, and he knows it. He doesn’t have the brains, the experience, the skills or the education for it. It also explains why he is so easily manipulated by Fitzgerald. His jealousy is only matched by Scott Tady’s selfies.

      • I overheard Kristin Doershner (Times court reporter) in a courtroom one day saying that they (the reporters) were not allowed to state opinions about proceedings. “Not allowed” speaks volumes. 

      • Taube has a degree from Syracuse University’s School of Public Communications and has worked for several major newspapers.  John Paul is nothing but a college dropout and a blogger who can’t string together a proper sentence.

      • @Get Real: Re: David Taube: David Taube started with the Vermont Press Bureau, a dot com online site with three full-time staffers in July of 2012. Now, he’s an “alumnus”, along with other former part-timers.
        Taube is a graduate from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism. Course of study: “Students seeking a bachelor’s degree in magazine… designed to prepare them for careers in the magazine field, both in print and online” (from the Syracuse web site). 
        He previously worked for Finger Lakes Times, circulation 14,000 in Geneva, N.Y. and The Post-Star circulation 29,000, in Glens Falls, N.Y.
        A Bachelor’s degree in MAGAZINE publishing? 
        “Several major newspapers” — The Finger Lakes Times and The Post Star, and now the Beaver County Times?
        C’mon, now. Those are not the credentials of the New York Times or Washington Post, are they?
        Answer one question: Whom did this kid from New York know to get the BCT job, because it obviously wasn’t his resume?

      • @Get Real: Disregard the Green Stamps these reporters have collected. Who is getting the news? Who is reporting it accurately? Who is not telling half-truths and lies? Who is making material change in the corruption he uncovers? Who is not a parasite, feeding off day-old news? Who gives credit to his sources? Who is not tied to the apron strings of a phony, pretentious, tight-assed editor of a small town people-pleasing rag? It’s all in the product, not in the presumption, and the Beaver Countian wins hands down. You obviously do not know of John Paul’s background and former work experiences, because this guy is no local rube who is trying to fleece his audience.

  12. What does this mean in the Times article,”Bankruptcy attorneys for the county also are reviewing other similar court cases, Kohlman said?” Are there other Beaver County people hiding behind bankruptcies to avoid paying taxes?

  13. Why should anybody in beaver county pay there taxes ? There is a long list of deadbeats, not just the Ralphie !  Everyone on that list should be paying ! This county sucks, nothing but a bunch of thieving, lying, crooks! Local to county, what i can get out of it for ME or my relatives. GO GET A REAL FN JOB !  How do these people sleep at night.

    • Yep, big time and get very little for them too,no sidewalks,or adequate snow removal ,no tax base because Center gets it all, of course they hired a professional to get that ,no inforcement of zoning ,no dog park but plenty of goose poop,no liberary let’s all take out kids books back and be afraid of getting assaulted,what we do have is bills for keeping the roads clean in the industrial park and no available dining options for the workers.a jail on prime river real estate,a jp’s office on property which should have been used for commerce and acres of prime property which are sitting unused but we do have an excommissioner as a twp mgr whose skills for the position are in real  doubt in my opinion

  14. I nearly spit out my coffee this morning when I read that article.  BCT is worthless.  Awe shucks, we forgot to pay our taxes for 24 years and no one told us so we just kept buying properties and not paying the taxes on the new properties.  We really want to pay our taxes.  Glad that they gave voice to these poor victims of a corrupt system so that the air could be cleared.

  15. Mike Kohlman knew all along that Unis did not pay their taxes !! He only took action when his job was on the line !!! People don’t be fooled



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