September 03, 2015

State Representatives Call For Investigation Into Tax Claim Bureau

state-representative

Two local State Representatives are calling on the Pennsylvania Attorney General and Auditor General to investigate the Beaver County Tax Claim Bureau.

Representatives Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) and Jim Marshall (R-Big Beaver) sent letters to Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale last week asking their offices to investigate possible conflicts of interest within the Tax Claim Bureau. The move follows an investigative report by the Beaver Countian which first revealed that Joan Unis, owner of the politically influential Unis Demolition in Aliquippa, owes approximately $500,000 in unpaid property taxes that the county never attempted to collect (including municipal, school, and county tax) originating back to the 1990s.

“Recent news reports from Beaver County have indicated certain county vendors and political allies have avoided property tax bills for decades — due to either poor job performance by government officials or potential favoritism through the county assessment office,” wrote Christiana and Marshall. “After our public criticism of this matter, we have received several calls, e-mails, and correspondence from local leaders who have cited direct knowledge of additional favoritism. It was also brought to our attention that at least one employee in the county assessment office is a paid tax collector as well as an employee of Commonwealth Realty.”

“Statements of financial interest and the media indicate that the Chief County Assessor, who also oversees the tax claim bureau and is responsible for sending out delinquent tax notices, is a partner at Commonwealth Reality,” the letter continues. “At a minimum, this has the perception of several conflicts of interest, and brings into question an abuse of office, and/or an abuse of responsibilities of the tax claim bureau and county assessment office. We are writing this letter to bring this matter to your attention and to request your office to look into the actions of the Beaver County assessment office and tax claim bureau.”

Beaver County Commissioners met with Chief County Assessor Michael P. Kohlman following reports by the Beaver Countian, and have subsequently begun instituting several procedural changes within the office. The county is now preparing to auction off dozens of properties owned by the Unis family.

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.

An attorney representing the Unis family has not returned messages seeking comment.

About The Author

Profile photo of John Paul

John Paul is a Beaver County native and the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

Reader Comments


Guest
not sure
1 year 2 months ago

Just set up a full time presence at the county courthouse AG.  You’ve got a big mess to sort out.

Guest
SpeakTheTruthToo
1 year 2 months ago

You’ve got that right.

Guest
SpeakTheTruthToo
1 year 2 months ago

Why just the Chief Assessor and not the one responsible for collecting the taxes?

Guest
Kermit
1 year 2 months ago

Maybe because Commissioner Nichols whose Republican is in bed with Treasurer Javens whose Democrat and these two Republican Reps aint gonna be stepping on that kinda love?!?!?!

Guest
1 year 2 months ago

They definitely need investigated.

Guest
1 year 2 months ago

John Paul please keep up with the tax claim bureau stuff. There is a lot going on there that is fishy.

Guest
Does it ever end
1 year 2 months ago

Way to go state reps….somebody forgets to collect a couple bucks a year and you write letters and demand an investigation. Sheriff gets arrested for threatening two people, spends all kind of money using deputies for private security for friends, isn’t allowed in half his office by court order and the only sound from our elected officials is CRICKETS. Guess the only time you want to get involved is when it is not another leach….I mean politician

Guest
cracker
1 year 2 months ago

Heads are going to roll, THANK YOU JP. Without your investigations this County could have continued to loose millions through corruption.
When are they going to close the doors on the Beaver County Slimes, i mean Times? They are no longer relevant in this community.

Guest
Eager Reader
1 year 2 months ago

the Times idea of investigative reporting is reading BeaverCountian.com every day and copying JP’s stories without credit

Guest
1 year 2 months ago

I can only say moor tax payers money going down the drain investigateing tax cheaters.there’s no end

Guest
avi
1 year 2 months ago

Who cares about the “Moors” this is Beaver county!

bwahahaha

Guest
not sure
1 year 2 months ago

“In Moorish Dignity.”-Ignatius J Reilly

Guest
1 year 2 months ago

The whole County needs to be investigated!

Guest
X-MAN
1 year 2 months ago

ITS STARTING TO RAIN!! THE STORM IS COMMIMG! EVERY NOOK & CRANNIE TOWN OR CITIES THE FEDS ARE HERE! STATE POLICE UR BACK UP IS HERE! STATE POLICE(Gangster squad)get them boys get them MF Now we got a fight!!!

Guest
lol
1 year 2 months ago

It’s a secretary that works as a regulator, lol and she only sells houses for him and that’s maybe once a year.

javens issues and collects taxes

Once late and turned over they go to tax claim

CHRISTINA and jimmy marshall are so far in dark, quit carrying water

I want ti know how many properties is betters not paying taxes on???? ,,lerta ,koz

What’s classic REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS LOCATION……. ,ummmmmmm oh Adams street Rochester building owned by???????

Yes Mike Kohlman

Christina opponent is in real estate class, taught buy kohlman as is Chris as Christina brother

Guest
lol
1 year 2 months ago

Sorry…. Christiana opponent is taking a realestate class currently taught by Kohlman and Christina brother is also taking the class. Something strange here,

Christiana mention tax claim office with this fiasco if Unis, but no mention of Treasurer Connie Javens, who issues the tax bills? And would be in control if insuring who is on bankruptcy status and not…. So how would anyone else know… Seems like him and his Rino partner need to investigate state level and federal level how this wasn’t caught…

But funny you made an allegation of a tax collector in statement… Strange all these UNIS PROPETIES come with 3 tax bills, COUNTY WE KNOW, BUT ALSO SCHOOL AND MUNICIPAL

HOW DIDN’T any local tax collector not catch this? Why didn’t any school district find this.

Something seems little bigger here.

Guest
tom
1 year 2 months ago

Not a surprise to me at all, given what I have learned in the last six months.. http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/11525120/study-says-high-corruption-in-pennsylvania-increases-taxes

Guest
joepa
1 year 2 months ago

Loafer wearing Boy Wonder (Christiana) should focus on other things. Has he written any bills that don’t help out his cronies in the charter schools, while the rest of us are seeing our school taxes rise because of them? I see he’s also taking credit for bringing Shell to Beaver County along with the other politicians.  

Guest
notalib
1 year 2 months ago

Hey big news, the corrupt officials want to audit the other corrupt officials. Yep. But they said it is a county problem so no solution this decade.

Guest
notalib
1 year 2 months ago

Hey Javens, all your taxes paid up? Any other friends we should know about before the lid comes of the tax office?

 

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