At a brief proceeding in Carbon County court on Tuesday afternoon, the Panther Valley School District said it will turn over to Carbon County all its delinquent tax records that the county was seeking, but will challenge the county in its request to recover the 5 percent commissions paid.
Attorney David Conn of the law firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz and Williams, of Pittston, the law firm hired by the district to represent it in the mandamus action the county filed last year, said all the tax records held by the collection firm of Portnoff Law Associates, Ltd., of Norristown, would be turned over to the county.
Conn told Judge Steven R. Serfass that the records would be transmitted to the county tax claim bureau within a few days. Conn made the statement at the start of an argument court proceeding on the pending matter.
Conn, however, said the county's request for the commissions paid for the tax bills would be challenged. He argued that with the records being turned over to the county the mandamus action is now moot. He claimed that the commissions issue is now an action for damages and the county must file such an action which the district would oppose.
However, attorney Jane Roach Maughan, of Stroudsburg, who represents the county in the action, said the request for commissions should remain a part of the original action filed. She said she has case law in an East Stroudsburg Area School District action similar to the one in Carbon, where a state court ruled in Monroe County's favor.
She said the Commonwealth Court ruled that the county was entitled to the commissions sought by Monroe.
Conn argued that the East Stroudsburg case was not similar to the instant matter because commissions were not part of the action.
Serfass said he would take the matter under advisement and would rule later. Serfass has scheduled a full hearing on the mandamus action for May 10 at 9 a.m.
Maughan noted that all the other school districts in the county had submitted the tax records sought except for Panther Valley and said she was glad the district is now complying.