New Castle News

December 7, 2013

City to petition court to void property sale

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The city of New Castle will petition the courts to void the purchase of a Hillcrest Avenue property.

Assistant city solicitor Jonathan Miller said at Thursday’s council meeting that a petition would be filed with the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas.

Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo purchased the property at 315 E. Hillcrest Ave. for $598.50 from the county repository. He used funds from the mayor’s account in the city budget for the purchase.

Miller said that because the property was purchased from the repository, the procedure to void the sale is to petition the court.

The city wants to void the sale because there are more than $25,000 in federal tax liens on the property.

Miller said the liens make the purchase economically unfeasible for the city.

The property was placed in the repository after it failed to be sold by the county for nonpayment of taxes.

The mayor was criticized earlier in the week by Councilman William Panella for making a purchase that had not been authorized by council.

Council tabled a resolution to buy the property last month. That resolution was unanimously defeated Thursday.

The mayor had proposed buying the house — the scene of an October shooting — having it rehabilitated, then selling it at market value.

Prior to the vote, James Mims Jr., who owns several properties in the city, told council that the federal liens don’t go away.

“I know. I got stuck with federal liens.”

He said the liens on the Hillcrest Avenue property total $25,830.60.

Mims contended that because the deed to the property had already been changed, the city is liable for the property.

“You guys are stuck with the house,” he said.

But Miller then said the city plans to petition the court.

Panella, an attorney, said, “I would anticipate the court is going to approve it.”