Sparked by a discussion on Facebook today about free school lunches, paid for by the Feds, it was said that 66% of kids live below the poverty level in Pottstown.
So, everybody’s getting a free lunch except Pottstown resident property owners. Were it not for endless, free, caviar lunches for rental income investors, we may not have an extreme need for free school lunches:
This 9/20/14 Times Herald article by Dan Clark could almost make a taxpayer giddy with thoughts of 2.1M property tax collections in MontCo – a portion of which could seem like a generous contribution to the Pottstown School District & Borough -
Right?? Not so fast – – what we don’t know, and the county isn’t telling, is the untold millions that are never collected in Pottstown …
Delinquent property owners are allowed to fall 2 years behind, according to the article. If properties don’t sell at Sheriff auction and there’s a mortgage the banks buy ‘em back. A lot of them are peddled for the banks by disreputable REO agencies that have an “in” with Fannie Mae and who have a medley of “get rich quick” investors lined up to be Pottstown’s next dead beat property owners. A lot of new investors will collect government subsidies for their dangerously neglected rental properties AND stop paying taxes too.
Properties are also pawned by the county, “free and clear” of tax and municipal liens, to even more slum investors who are not scrutinized by the county or maybe the county is part of that deal?
The county sold a couple properties, for $1 each, to a religious lady that distributes questionnaires to her prospective tenants, inquiring about their relationship with God, I have a copy and it’s so frickin’ uncool. She sends “dripping in judgment” rejections via email <I have one of those too, it was forwarded to me by someone who tried to rent from her> WHAT IS THE COUNTY THINKING??? They must really hate Pottstown.
Now those tax defaults are not such a big thing to – very wealthy – Montgomery County, they have steady, pristine, upper middle class revenue in the majority of the county … but this 2 year policy is keeping N & Ptowns in the gutter – circling the same drain as Detroit, Wayne County MI. Why should these very poor communities be asked to wait for 2 or 3 years for desperately needed funds then end up – possibly – with nothing at all or with more cheap trick investors?
EXHIBIT A, below is three properties that are owned by Tyler and Diana Bui, they are all tax delinquent. There are no sheriff’s auction notices on the properties, yet. Two of the houses are condemned and they will sit there – rotting – until they are 2 years behind in taxes or the bank sends them to auction, (or the water authority sends them).
I believe mortgage default is also a 2 year process. When two years is up, the Bui’s tax debt will look like this:
$5,840.00 429 King St.
$5,082.00 431 King St.
$5,524.00 1057 South St.
$16,446.00 Total Property Taxes on three properties, for 2 years, that’s a lot of free lunches for the Bui’s even if the properties weren’t fully rented for the full 2 years…
By the time all is said and done, for two years, no property maintenance, no taxes, no mortgage – every penny of the rent money the Bui’s collected is “mainlined” directly into the pocket of Tyler and Diana. It’s unethical, it’s sleazy, it SHOULD be criminal. It’s not unlike the behavior of an addict – like junkies mainline heroin.
Question is, have they paid their municipal liens or the mortgages? I could be wrong, but it’s a safe guess they have not. So the figure $16,446.00 is at least double, a fix that’s fed their greed, giving them a substantially profitable high. Why shouldn’t they be tempted to repeat this experience like any good junkie would? When nobody’s minding the ranch…the wolves are fat and happy, pickin’ wool from between their teeth.
My block, my town will be left in despair while the properties await the next cheap investors to turn a trick. Who else would want to buy the homes? One of the homes was once owned and lived in by an interior designer – it is said that it was a beautiful residence/office space. How far from grace have leaders let this borough fall…
The Bui’s profited from their negligence and the illegal drug trade in Pottstown, as all income investors do when they rent to drug dealers.
Money is the drug of choice for Pottstowns slum investors, they skim the cream off the top, officials suck up what’s left and we pick up the tab.
Poverty Pimps!!!! Poor people!!!! More and more of them everyday!!!! We do not disparage the free lunch that Pottstown kids get at school M-F, by the way, but..
We are disgusted to see slum properties continue to change hands while officials show no concern for the mess the 2 year property tax waiting game has gotten us into. The new funding for homeless and parolees has investors lining up at the trough with the expectation that they too will be asked to do little maintenance, get no inspections or even have to pay taxes.
Officials of the school district and borough can advocate for better laws at the county level, not only tax reform for the entire state, (which appears to be D.O.A. once again).
MontCo treasurer, Jason Salus states:
“We’ll start preparing them <properties> for the judicial free and clear sale. In between then, we have a new sale process in place called a private sale,” Salus said. “For those 11 months where we’re preparing those properties for the free and clear sale, anybody <in Pottstown that means slum investors> can come in, make a bid and we’ll pass it to the school district, the county and the borough or municipality to see if they have an interest in selling it for whatever the private sale is. There’s an option to try to get those properties back on the tax rolls during that one year window.”
“Getting properties back on the tax rolls” CANNOT be the only consideration when officials have the opportunity to scrutinize prospective buyers before a sale. They don’t do it after the sale either when they hand out building permits, conditional use permits and rental licenses to deadbeats when the law allows them to be denied <PA Act 90 Blight and Reclamation> an oz. of prevention is better than a lb. of cure.
The Times Hearld points out, if a property doesn’t sell at Sheriff’s auction, it can sit for 3 years generating no taxes and deteriorating. So why isn’t the borough/sd buying back these homes and selling them to HOMEOWNERS for $1 as part of a neighborhood stabilization effort? Put solid taxpayers in them – smaaart!! That’s what they’re doing in Gary, IN << clik to read article.
What can officials here learn from Wayne County, MI, if they wanted to?? Wayne County waited to do anything until Detroit became stuck at the bottom of the drain. Understand NOW the dire predicament of Pottstown and how it comes full circle.
Good, taxpayer residents are outraged in Detroit – as you should be here.
I believe a no holds barred investigation of Pottstown and Montgomery County would be the best thing that could happen for taxpayers in Pottstown. This merry-go-round of property tax evasion has us circling the Detroit drain.
“Extractive investor” is a term that was coined in Baltimore explained to me, a few years ago, by attorney Michael Sarbanes while he was visiting Pottstown:
“Extractive” is an investment style that requires no property maintenance, no background checks of tenants, illegal evictions AND non-payment of property taxes. As it sounds, an investor extracts the useful life out of a property for financial gain and walks away to do it all over again. In Pottstown, we’re on at least our third generation of extractive investors. In some neighborhoods there’s nothing left to extract but, that hasn’t stopped the vicious cycle.
Last summer I started documenting the filth and debauchery of tenants at 429 & 431 King St., owned by the Bui’s <pronounced “boys”>. Many locals recall attending school with Tyler who was called “Hung Bui” before his name change, he may have owned properties under that name too? I don’t know for certain.
Drug dealers were chopping up a van in the backyard of 431 last summer.
This is how the renters lived.
I called Tyler – often – regarding the conditions of his property and his renters who were seen selling drugs, behind one of the houses, to school kids as they made their way home in the afternoon.
Tyler was evasive, unconcerned and had a big “FUCK YOU” attitude, kind of like the response from local authorities who were called to the problems as they were reported by neighbors.
The drug dealers were nonplused, they were as assured as Tyler was that it would be a cold day in hell before the law caught up with them, they were all pretty darn comfy in Pottstown.
Funny thing is though, I posted some of these photo’s on Facebook, last summer, along with Tyler’s name and his church people came out of the woodwork to defend him, “he’s a nice guy” they said. I said, “nice guys don’t screw taxpayers and kids.”
Today, both houses are condemned. I learned that one set of tenants had no electric service, they were running a generator through the monster winter of 2013-14.
I don’t suppose Tyler and Diana had to worry about keeping their kids warm and I doubt they ever once considered the fate of their renters children or they would have paid taxes and maintained their properties.
57 Irwin Pl is the county mailing address for the Bui’s, taxes are paid up.
Tyler and Diana also own this property along with Vu Phuco & Connie Bui:
201 Jordan Dr. Gilbertsville, no tax lien here either.
And, they own land with no tax lien.
I’m tired of taking it in the shorts while people like the Bui’s live the life O’Reilly and I clean up, put up <but never shut up> and pay for the bullshit they have brought to my block, my community.
I’d also like the county to tell me why my property taxes, despite having them lowered, are $3,105/year while their highest taxed, INCOME generating property is only $2,920.00. Most of the investor properties near my home pay less than I do. Income investors should NOT be allowed to lower their taxes – EVER. As for the Homestead tax break for owner/occupants MontCo doesn’t list that information on their website but activists in Allentown have discovered it’s quite common for slum persons to give a rental property as their home address to qualify for the tax break. Maybe that’s why deadbeat, Ed Mitchell, gives 239 Chestnut St. as his tax mailing address and also claims to live at 454 King St. and, of course, Blue Bell too. Whataguy.
What can you learn from people like Tyler and Diana Bui?? If you could overlook your pesky conscience and stop paying your taxes and mortgage for two years, let your house fall into disrepair and ignore the borough’s violations, your kids will still eat for free, they’ll get an education and…
Wouldn’t you like to be richly rewarded with a pocket full of money to start your life over on Boardwalk or Park Place? Chalk Pottstown up to a bad move in the game of Monopoly?
Your credit will take a hit but, for an increasing number of Pottstown homeowners, that’s a small price for playing their final “get out of jail cards.”
Ply the lessons from the Bui’s and hundreds – no- thousands of other extractive investors or, you can just leave your thoughts and ideas in the comment space below.
Let the people speak for themselves. Featured comments can be found at the bottom of the slumlord list. You will also find the link for the montco property records on the page where you can find a list of rentals owned by these LLC’s.
September 21, 2014 at 10:05 am
Alisa Levin is a horrible landlord I didn’t have any heat for a year and I was the only one paying for gas and electric in the building. She does not provide the proper service as a landlord she has a guy that works for her as a superintendent but never wants to fix anything. She never had the building inspected she doesn’t communicate well and she will try to take your whole security deposit when you decide to move out. She should not be a landlord in Pottstown, Pa or anywhere else in the world be careful because she will try to charge you for something that your not supposed to pay for if she thinks you don’t have the knowledge to know better…
“DON’T RENT FROM ALISA LEVIN”
Sick of slumlords says:
December 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm
Alisa Levin has been victimizing tenants for years. She uses her null and void psychology license to prey on young poor women manipulating them to stay in her dilapidated properties. I have numerous text messages from Ms. Levin, threatening to call child services on a tenant if she did not comply with her demands. I have multiple photos of shoddy conditions in her “penthouse” suite located above Daisy’s bodega which as codes stated to me had not been inspected since 2005 and was to be used for storage only according to codes. The place has shoddy electrical with bare exposed wires. The windows are broken and riddled with lead paint. The fire lighting system was disconnected and a board was nailed over the outlet so the delinquents who “loitered” in the common area stairwell could not charge their phones according to Levin. All of this evidence was presented to a judge who blindly allowed this sheister to keep renting her dangerous properties. Several attempts to gain access to her “so called investors” NikChad LLC were shot down by Levin herself. If the tenant signs a lease with NIKCHAD how does she have the right to quell any conversations with the “ghost investors”? Well that’s because Ms. Levin and NIKCHAD are one in the same. Why does Ms, Levin hide her investors? Why does she hide the fact that she IS NIKCHAD? This is something that will eventually come to fruition I am sure.
Sick of slumlords, goes on to say:
December 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm
…there are drug dealers living in the building and the store below (345 Beech st) breeds every vermin in town. I am sure this is due to the store owners prior infractions for selling cigarettes on the food stamp program which I am certain he still does. Wires are exposed in the units children live in and her maintenance man is a recovering addict (who relapsed) working for a local rehab in Pottstown. His girlfriend likes to threaten anyone she can get her hands on. The codes department thanks you for your tips but then turns a blind eye and allows the landlord to turn over her properties within a week from the other tenants (who still have active leases) leaving. This woman should be ran out of town and sent back to Quakertown where her family lives in the lap of luxury.
POTTSTOWN OFFICIALS AND JUDGES REFORM THIS NOW BEFORE WE GO OVER YOUR HEADS TO A FEDERAL AGENCY !!!!
Sincerely and Serious,
450 King St. Alisa Levin – Chagallliving, LLC Paint job on trim is new *gag* Front window is plexiglas – suck the heat right out of the house. Storm windows or insulation? You’ll freeze your petuties off this winter and pay a chunk of change for it too.
About two years after I moved to Pottstown the stories of underhanded politics began to unfold, including the prevalence of anonymous, “poison pen letters” that are designed to intimidate and threaten an adversary. I’m sure this kind of thing is not a Pottstown exclusive but it sure is popular here.
How fulfilling can it be to send anonymous letters? Think about it:
The sender never has the satisfaction of seeing surprise on the recipients face.
The sender never knows if their target shared the letter with other people.
The sender is never assured that their secret letter spawned conjecture or fear or debate about who sent it and why.
Nope, in reality, the sender never really knows if the letter had the desired effect of intimidating or paralyzing their intended.
The author is left with the temporary satisfaction of secretly spewing their threats and vitriol after which, it seems to me, they can only indulge themselves in twisted fantasies about the impact they’ve made on another person. In that regard…
I imagine the authors of poison pen letters are full of false bravado, and a few other things I shall not mention by name but one of them rhymes with coop.
The recipient’s of anonymous, toxic Pottstown fiction say they usually <wisely> tear the letters up, with little regard for the hostile content, and toss ‘em in the round file cabinet.
Recently, poison pens are going around again. There seems to be a single author whose writing style stands out and whose content is to threaten lawsuits against the borough, or encourage residents to file lawsuits against other residents. The letters lack fact or substance and…
The writer comes off like she’s throwing an adult temper tantrum <so unattractive by any measure> The recent round of letters give every indication of having been written by a real estate -eh hem- “professional” who I have written about on this blog and who is affiliated with the Western Montgomery County Real Estate Investors Group. This is an organization whose members comprise many of the negligent rental property owners we see today in Pottstown.
Judging by the poison pen letters being mailed of late, it’s an easy guess that some members of the real estate investors group are feeling a tad uncomfortable with recent developments in the borough. Perhaps they sense that their free reign of terror is coming to an end?
We can only say: IT’S ABOUT TIME!
The recipient of one of those poison pen letters is a neighbor of mine who brought me the letter yesterday to make a copy for posterity. In the letter my neighbor was encouraged – in a misguided, erroneous rant – to hire an attorney and sue me for posting to facebook the footage taken from a surveillance video, in a public space, that captured.. uh.. shall I say, something that should have been accomplished in private. The fact is…
The 4th Amendment guarantees privacy in our homes, public restrooms, jail, in a phone booth, etc. but…when you are in public places – if, for example, you choose to urinate in public – it is possible to be charged with littering, public nuisance, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, or other law if the locality doesn’t have a law specifically addressing public urination, (Pottstown has laws on the books to govern these things).
The following is an example of one state’s law dealing with public urination:
76-9-702. Lewdness — Sexual battery — Public urination. A person is guilty of public urination if the person urinates or defecates in a public place, other than a public rest room; and under circumstances which the person should know will likely cause affront or alarm to another.
While these laws are widely enforced in other towns and cities it is not common to see them enforced in Pottstown leading some people to the conclusion that it’s O.K. to take a pee or leave graphic evidence, (of the solid variety), in public – anywhere they would like – without shame or embarrassment or concern for being arrested.
But, what happens if it’s captured on video? For one, it might go viral and who knows… any Pottstownian could be next in line to receive an “ax job” <anon letter> from a whack job for posting legitimate concerns about illegal activity, so…
If you happen to open your mailbox and find an anonymous letter about me or any other topic please hold on to it. I think these letters have a place in the history of Pottstown or, at least, an enterprising and avant guard new restaurant could up-cycle them to wallpaper their bathrooms – – for entertainment purposes only.
Meanwhile, I am extending an invitation to the author of the inane, poison pen ramblings sent to my neighbor to pick a time and let’s get together for a cup of joe and conversation. Send me a <signed> letter or contact me by email if you have the cahones to do so:
While we work on a new project to feature ethical Real Estate Professionals and Landlords in our area please remember, they are not all created equal. This is a reminder to CHECK THE HISTORIES of anyone you are considering renting from, including PROPERTY MANAGEMENT CO’S.
The same holds true if you are selling or buying real estate. The Pottstown housing ocean is infested with sharks and you are at risk of falling prey to the unethical, illegal actions of many real estate professionals and landlords.
Check civil and criminal backgrounds on the county and state links which you can find if you click on the link below. If you need help finding information, contact me at the email address above.
Choose wisely because you have a lot to lose: