Judge OKs Jeannette Glass sale
Westmoreland County's purchase of the former Jeannette Glass plant has been upheld by a county judge but officials said the ownership dispute is far from over.
Judge Anthony Marsili Jr. Thursday ruled the Tax Claim Bureau properly advertised the sale, posted a sale notice at the site and notified the owner, Zion Bullitt Avenue LP, that the firm owed the county, city and Jeannette School District more than $171,000 in taxes for 2010 and 2011. Zion Bullitt is owned by Abe Zion and his family, who live in New York City.
“... What more could the Tax Claim Bureau have done to provide notice of delinquent real estate taxes and the Upset Sale to a non-owner occupant that is a business entity located out of state?” Marsili wrote.
The Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. purchased the property for more than $305,000 at a sale held in 2012 because of the unpaid taxes. The county put the 13-acre site up for sale and notified the company in May 2012.
The county purchased the property with the intent of redeveloping it. Zion appealed and Marsili conducted a non-jury trial earlier this year.
County and city officials expect the Zions to appeal Marsili's decision to Commonwealth Court.
“They've made that known from day one,” said city attorney Scott Avolio. “The judge showed a lot of courage but it's long from over. But it's a significant step for the city of Jeannette.”
Zion's attorney, Aaron Kress of New Kensington, declined to comment.
City, county and state officials have been sparring with Zion's company for 30 years in an effort to force him to remove wastes, toxins and chemicals remaining on the property after decades of glass making.
The state Department of Environmental Protection cited Zion for a series of water and air violations. The two sides reached an agreement last January that established a timetable for Zion to clean up the site.
Marsili said Mark Zion's testimony about his father's whereabouts when the county's registered letter arrived in New York was “vague and confusing,” while testimony from the county was “detailed and credible.”
Zion testified that his 89-year-old father, who has suffered mental and physical deterioration due to his age, uses a wheelchair and requires round-the-clock care.
When the letter arrived, Mark Zion said, he and his father were in the Virgin Islands.
Marsili noted that someone signed the receipt for the letter with the last name “Zion” when it arrived at Zion's residence in the Bronx.
He questioned how Zion, despite his physical condition, was able to travel “extensively” in the United States and the Virgin Islands.
Mark Zion never testified that he did not know about the tax sale, only that his father could not have signed for the letter, the judge noted.
“We're excited the judge has ruled in our favor,” said Jason Rigone, executive director of the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. “This is something that we've been waiting for since making the initial bid on the property in 2012.”
Rigone said redeveloping the property could be a major economic boost to Jeannette because the site is located “dead center of the city.”
“The news is good,” said Mayor Richard Jacobelli. “It's about time.”
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jeannette company’s miniature steam engines coveted for decades
- Westmoreland County furloughs weights and measurements director
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Demolition project at Oliver’s Pourhouse in Greensburg moves ahead
- Home of LeNature’s exec up for sale
- Film crew to shoot at Ligonier Diamond
- Westmoreland County judge denies appeal of convicted wife killer
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Ligonier Township residents concerned about hydraulic fracturing amid draft zoning ordinance
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts