Feb 25, 2016

Arena Steals From Taxpayers, Reichley or Wrongly

The Allentown School District has filed a lawsuit against the Arena for not paying property taxes,  yet containing retail businesses, which compete with taxpaying businesses.  Defense counsel for the arena claims that this is permitted by the NIZ state law, as enacted in Harrisburg.  Unfortunately, for the taxpayers, this case is being heard by Judge Douglas Reichley.  Reichley said "The curious thing is that none of those entities are here. None of those [businesses] appear to be complaining."  I find that statement very telling.  While you wouldn't expect to see the few small pre-NIZ surviving business owners at such a  court case, you might expect Reichley to make a relevant disclosure;  Reichley didn't mention that previously he was a state representative,  who passed the NIZ.

photo from the Chickie's & Pete's at the arena


Anonymous said...

The rot is deep and wide.

Anonymous said...


Dave said...

There used to be a Wendy's at the exact same spot that Chicky and Petes is at now.

Wendy's paid property tax as part of it's normal business costs. Why isn't Chicky and Petes?

Food is food, the lot is the same.

Oh right, the NIZ says it is a "government building", even though there is no government business taking place in it.

Smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke them cigarettes.....

Anonymous said...

You see a problem, I see opportunity.

I'd say the judge just opened the door for Rich Fegley and other like-minded businesses to weigh-in with the court on this case.

I hope that Rich and others are already in the process of contacting the court, as well as any pre-NIZ businesses that DIDN'T survive.

In fact, I wonder if individual customers whose favorite shop or restaurant was lost because of the unfair playing field of the NIZ shouldn't also weigh in.

Anonymous said...


Are you even authorized to comment on these matters? Says who??? I mean, hey, I'd sure hate to see you step on the toes of some commissar, um, er, ah, commissioner or something.

Aside from Armstrong, I really just don't remember any people involved with the Allentown School District speaking out against the now famous $ 177.1 million dollar Pawlowski Palace of Sport before the proposed NIZ actually became a law. In fact, I remember just the opposite - all the in-your-face hoopla and cheerleading - although there is no need to call any school board member, etc., out specifically.

Not really impressed by the judge and not really sympathetic with respect to ASD's lawsuit. When is the next exciting minor league ice hockey game? Maybe I can rub elbows with some "important people".


Anonymous said...

Reichley is on the team.
Everything is working according to plan.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:53, i do not make that accusation, but i did find his question about where the other merchants where to be irrelevant to the merits of the school districts case, and do show, IMO, a bias. the other merchants, BTW, were in their stores, trying to eke out a living in a downtown only revitalized in the mind of the morning call. and mostly in the mind of the reporter who wrote this article, matt assad. assad obviously was delighted by the question, and included it in his article.

Anonymous said...

Name a player on the hockey team. No cheating.

Anonymous said...

If Reichely was a State Rep when the legislation was passed, shouldn't he recuse himself?

Anonymous said...

This whole NIZ or MIZ is one giant taxpayer scam. When our local, state or federal government is allowed to pick winners and losers ..democracy is lost. Repeal the niz, incarcerate the criminals abusing the publics trust. The rubber stampers who took camaign contributions to change a vote for delta thermo should see jail time too.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about Alan Jennings position on this.
Isn't it about time for another interesting and informative interview with Assad?

Anonymous said...

anon 11:54 a.m
Non-profits are regularly charged taxes for non-purpose related activities. Why should a government entity not to the same. Time for some MOA attorneys to weigh in.

Anonymous said...

I find Reichley's comments puzzling but also wholly irrelevant to the case. The school district is the plaintiff not other downtown businesses. They aren't party to the suit and have no standing, so why would they be there?

I think this case comes down to the limits of "fostering" or "creating" economic development. I always thought ANIZDA screwed themselves with the wonky condominium setup they used which operates as a thinly disguised tax shelter.

Doesn't BDH take in all the revenue from those enterprises and then pay rent to ANIZDA? How isn't that taxable? I'm curious as to the difference in the money BDH makes vs. what they pay in the lease.

Jamie Kelton said...

I'm not sure and maybe you can explain this. I know the NIZ area is kind of odd shaped, but I do know that it doesn't stop at the PPL Arena. It must go west probably a few blocks to at least Ninth Street.

In the paper today, it says that Talen is losing money at 9th and Hamilton, and the owners of the PPL Plaza building is suing the NIZ because they say that the property isn't worth what they paid for it because of the low rents that City Center is charging their tenants. Also there are some buildings on the drawing boards that are going to add more office space into the NIZ.

Now, if the NIZ includes the PPL Plaza, and it must since the Butz building is expanding across the street, why can't ALL the buildings in the NIZ be subsidized the same way as the City Center buildings, but also ALL the buildings pay property tax based on their subsidized property values?

It seems so unfair how all this is being handled, it really does.

Anonymous said...

Jamie, the NIZ isn't 'odd shaped.' It has NO shape at all. It is nothing more than a crony attempt to favor the few. Why the heck would an existing property like the Morning Call building be put into the NIZ? Why did they break the chops of the guy who owns the Americus. Geeez, they were down to virtually demanding a say in the quality of the doorknobs in that place. I think if it were not for the fomenting scandals downtown the Americus would never have gotten the approval is has so far.