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Bennett wins bid for Shull-David property

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    Local developer Joseph Bennett purchased the former Shull-David Elementary property in Lehighton Borough for $402,500 at a public auction Monday afternoon.
    Bennett said “no comment” when asked about a potential use for the property, located along Beaver Run Road.

Published July 22. 2019 02:58PM

A local developer outbid an alternative education provider Monday afternoon to purchase a former Lehighton Area School District elementary school.

Joseph Bennett, using the name Lehighton School Site LLC, posted the successful bid of $402,500 for Shull-David Elementary school during a public auction held at the district administrative building.

Shull-David, located at 200 Beaver Run Road in Lehighton Borough, is one of four elementary schools that closed when Lehighton opened its new elementary center in the fall of 2018.

When asked how he intended to use the property, Bennett said “no comment.”

Bennett’s bid was one of two submitted during Monday’s auction. Behavioral Health Associates opened the bidding at $400,000, but did not attempt to go higher than Bennett.

With the sale of Shull-David, the district has just one unused elementary school, Franklin, remaining.

“This sale certainly helps us,” Lehighton Superintendent Jonathan Cleaver said after the auction. “We were paying on average $50,000 a year in utilities just for the upkeep because we did keep the heat on in the winter to keep the building going.”

The school had been for sale for over a year with minimal interest. A handful of commercial real estate agents brought clients through the building to no avail.

Cleaver said Bennett had been through the building before the auction.

“He viewed it a handful of times and expressed interest and today he was the highest bidder,” Cleaver said.

In November 2017, Lehighton sold East Penn and Mahoning elementary schools for $350,000 each, also at public auction. BHA was the successful bidder for Mahoning, where it now runs the Mahoning Valley Academy for grades 7 through 12.

Had BHA purchased Shull-David, it would have remained off the tax roll, but that changes with Bennett’s acquisition.

“This puts it on the tax roll through his company, so that is an additional revenue source that comes back to the district,” Cleaver said.

Cleaver said Bennett has not confirmed with him how he planned to use the building.

“There were several things they talked about when they toured the building, but as far as telling me for sure how they plan to use it, that’s up to them,” he said.

The auction was originally slated for July 15, but Lehighton administrators said it had to be pushed back a week to comply with a law requiring advertisement of the event in the Carbon County Law Journal.

The date change was ratified by the board in an 8-1 vote Monday night. Director David Bradley cast the negative vote, saying that vote should have been taken before the auction.

“This is like closing the gate after the horse is out of the barn,” Bradley said.

District resident Barb Bowes said she brought the advertising requirement to the administration’s attention and was, “thankful this time it was done correctly, although I do think a vote to change the date should have happened before the auction.”

Bradley also voted against approving Bennett’s bid, noting that he sent an email to the board Monday morning asking for the auction to be postponed.

“Just delaying it a week resulted in a higher bid than the $400,000, imagine what giving interested bidders more time would do,” he said. “We have the opportunity to do this right and give people more of an opportunity to prepare for this.”

Fellow board member Andrew Yenser said the constituents he spoke to were happy there was any interest in the property.

“I talked to many people who were very excited we could finally get this off the books,” Yenser said.

Cleaver updated the board Monday on Franklin, the lone remaining closed elementary school belonging to the district. An interested party, he said, has viewed the property several times.

“They have asked me to keep their information confidential at this point, but we did share with them the process by which we just sold Shull-David,” Cleaver said.

I think it would be great if the school was converted into affordable non-HUD apartments.
I also think this newspaper should go out of business ASAP but we know what they say about opinions. ;)
Well.... you help keep it in business. You comment enough...sure seems like you’re reading it.
And hud. Yeah that would be great. Just what an area that is growing needs.... section 8 housing. Lay off the meth.. Krystal
Oh Great! Bennett! Famous for bringing us more Fast Food Crap holes. Just what the fatass Carbon trump-a-lumps need. MAGA! Keep'em Fat & Stupid!
T2C here you are again making critical remarks about people who are way above your level. If you are so great why didn’t you buy the building and do something worthwhile with it? You are a liberal jerk on full display. The only thing “big” about you is your potty mouth. How many properties do you own? How many restaurants do you own? How many banks smile when you walk in to visit for a financial talk? What do you contribute to your local community? Zero is the answer. T2C, you are a zero. You are a zero that doesn’t even have the intellect to display good manners. You should be ashamed of yourself. Maybe a mental evaluation is long overdue. You insult individuals & a community that you are unworthy of. Get help. Clean up your dirty act. MAGA!
And where's your vast financial empire? Screw you. You're a stupid fatass, sister banging, redneck piece of garbage. The dancing fool on the TN COMMENT PAGES! You're a laughing stock. Keep it up punk-ass, we all know you're a loser, living in a rusty piece if crap trailer. So, desperate to be taken seriously, but you're just a dirty little second rate, blue collar loser. Sorry to take you away from your possum dinner. Yee haw, trump sucks!
T2C mental meltdowns and rude behavior are signs of weakness. You are a cyber bully that comes on here to insult others, rather than offering a contribution to society. You have insulted communities, businessmen, individuals and officials. You have insulted Astronauts and President Trump, and many others beyond mention. I am stuffing your words right back down your throat. Society has no place for playground bullies. Usually, bullies get a sock in the face and run home crying to mommy. Are you proud of your low intellect insults? You should be ashamed of yourself. Why don’t you read a book, take a course, get certified in something to expand your knowledge base? You are a weak bully that jumps up and down in your crib crying for attention. Don’t think you are a tough guy. I buried better warriors when I was in the military than you will ever be. You should be quiet & humble in the presence of greatness. Collusion is a fraud...and so are you.

Good evening. Very happy for Joe Bennett and the district. Whereas, I figure he will not use it as his residence he will either rent or convert and resell this asset. Purchased for pennies on the dollar, a smart man earns every penny for taking controlled risks. I voted against this motion since this district chose to ignore the financial coup if the district chose to rent it using a triple net lease. A lower rent tenant, that pays their own utilities, maintenance, taxes, and insurance.

You know what they say about fools and your money?

Good luck Joe, please do not go on strike, communities need developers, employers and persons with vision. Without them, we are all bound to live under darker skies.

Wonder if the Lehighotn Borough will level the playing field and support the children by paying all the back taxes from renting the Annex as a commercial venture? Don't see people mad at a government using it authority to not fund our schools, but compete with the private sector. Why is he local government in the real estate business again?

I calculated the back taxes to be about $850,000. I didn't add interest or penalties for shirking the responsibility to support the education of our children, since they are nice people. In all fairness, they are nice enough to use their electricity monopoly to only charge the district some of the higher rates in PA. Just ask Larry Stern.

Ever wonder the local economic of consolidation?
How much money is taken from neighboring communities in school taxes to pass through to Lehighton Borough? How much local income taxes from staff that used to go to EP, M and Frankkin now go to the Borough? Sewer, water, electricity, Bmmm. And who is on the sewer board? Who is the sewer dept treasurer? Who has lobbyist access to the LASD directors that work at the Borough?

Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, these tax increases and Legacy of Debt isn't all its quacked up to be.

Do you have the ability to contact Larry Stern, Wayne Wentz, Rita Spinelli, Andrew Yenser, and Steve Holland the way their lobbyist do? Will they answer your calls, questions? Do they represent your morality? You best interest?

Transparently bringing back a government of, by and for the people one election at a time.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
Here ya go citizen dave. First you're actions on the school board cost all local taxpayers something, (especially embarrassment) now you want to double the burden on the taxpayers in Lehighton by paying back taxes on the old school. You really are a piece of work.

Still suffering from Lehighton School Board syndrome.
Oath of office.

Unlike Larry Stern, Wayne Wentz, Rita Spinelli, Andrew Yenser, and Steve Holland I serve only one master when it comes to being an elected official, the laws. Government only does a few things. Tax or reduce taxes, spend or not spend, worth or adjudicate laws. As for the law, I read it and you as a stakeholder wrote it. Yes, your silence is compliance when it comes to politicians writing laws, raising taxes, wasting funds on corruption.

Speak up, voice your discontent. Tell me how it was good for Larry Stern to claim immunity, let the Solicitor apparently use educational funds for his benefit making absurd arguments, yell more how you support the illegal use of educational funds for a SLAPP resolution to attempt to silence the one guy that speak out against corruption. Write in all CAPS, scream your tribe pride in the hometown corruption.

Or, follow the law, and honor the oath, act as a public servant in a government of, by and for the people. See I chose the latter. I truly love the haters as much as I love those that read stuff and share Both get educated to how government is authority and the less we ask of government the better. These insiders have been screwing this community for decades and you praise them as a zealot of corruption. I love it. A better argument, I could not make. And if you truly think I am clairvoyant instead just a person that listens to fhe people, verifies the details, and amplifies their voice with documented facts, i say bullocks, but thank you.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
A theatrical plea for your attention:

I knew an old town
That swallowed a lie
I don't know why
They swallowed the lie

I guess they will cry

I knew an old town
That floated a bond
They floated the bond
To fix the lie
I don't know why
They swallowed that lie

I know they will cry

I know and old town
That built a new school 
They thought it be cool to build a new school.

They built a new school
To consume the funds
They borrowed the funds to
Cover the lie
The created a lie I don't know why, but this town has begun to cry.

Debt piled high to cover the lie,  

Upon our children and upto the sky.

This board keeps spending without a clue, the predictions of pain all came true.

Thank you for reading this far. Theatrics garner attention and sometimes we all need a good poem to open the conversations.

They started with a lie, and hid the truth. Transparency is coming, but slowly as they are blaming me and the other guy. I created a balanced budget with a slight tax decrease, it meets all the State requirements for this government be solvent. 

Now, for the blunt truth. If we look at the district as a government of, by and for the people, we can meet the educational requirements without going insolvent. The path they are on is riddled with despair. A government can't actually go bankrupt, since they have taxpayers to pay for all their mistakes. The bond documents show these rubber-stampers were fools with our money. They pledged the full taxing authority of the government to the bond holders. The interest rates are escalating and the PSERS are crushing most about every district.

Purveyors of a peaceful reform we ask for their apology and resignation.
Let the wiser heads transparently make decisions with community oversight and approval. Together we can reform this back to a government of, by and for the people again. Rigid principles, and moral guidelines can navigate us to a sustainable community.  The system is set up that the taxpayers control the board, the board controls the administration and the administration handles the day to day. 

We have a real budget, with a slight tax decrease, but can not move forward while the government is controlled by these rubber stampers. The five that make up government gave their blind trust to the administration. They are blocking reforms with their block votes. Evil or stupid, the facts are the facts. And I say evil since we warned them repeatedly with facts upon facts. 

Talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends. Unsustainable consumption is a hard for the corrupt to correct. However, it is easy for those with character willing to serve the public. 

Contact me at
I welcome your input.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.

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