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Portnoff hired to collect overdue PV taxes

Published January 28. 2013 05:06PM

The Panther Valley School Board on Thursday agreed to hire a Bucks County law firm, that was the center of a lawsuit involving Carbon County, to continue to collect delinquent real estate taxes.

The board hired Portnoff Law Associates of Norristown to collect the 2012 taxes that have yet to be paid.

The 2009 lawsuit involved then-board of Carbon County Commissioners Wayne Nothstein, William O'Gurek and Charles Getz, the county Tax Claim Bureau, and the school district. The county sued the school district for $323,000 in retroactive commission for delinquent tax collections from 2000 through 2006; as well as for auditing services used to complete county records, and for the return of all county tax records. Portnoff became embroiled in the suit when it intervened on the school district's behalf.

Monroe County Judge Jerome P. Cheslock heard the case, and ruled early in October that the district had to turn over all tax records to the county, and pay the commission and other fees plus legal fees and costs. Portnoff could not collect the delinquent taxes.

However, the school district appealed the ruling, and on Jan. 10, Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt overturned a portion of Cheslock's ruling. Her ruling gave Portnoff the right to collect the taxes, and reversed Cheslock's ruling that $223,000 in retroactive commission be paid to the county.

The commissioners have since appealed Leavitt's ruling to the state Supreme Court. It's unclear how the school board's action will play out, given the most recent court appeal.

In other matters Thursday, the board:

Agreed to seek proposals for cafeteria services;

Tabled a motion to donate $2,000 to the Panther Valley Public Library;

Agreed to retain the services of Sweet, Stevens, Katz and Williams, LLP, for the 2013-14 school year for the purpose of contract negotiations at an hourly rate of $185 for nonroutine matters and $140 for routine matters or general advice, effective July 1, 2013.

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