Scranton Properties Sold Without Notifying Owners?

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SCRANTON -- Some homeowners in Lackawanna County are being told that they no longer own their homes.

Their properties were sold at a Scranton City Treasurer's Sale without the owners even knowing about it.

Since Newswatch 16 started looking into these sales, the city of Scranton has started looking into how or if some homeowners were properly notified that their homes were up for sale back in 2013.

Two men who have lived in Scranton for many years both found out last Thursday that their houses no longer belong to them. They both say they had no idea they were sold.

Since last Thursday, Bill McAndrew has spent a lot of time at his dining room table looking over 20 years of tax bills and documents. He's trying to figure out how a piece of paper wound up on the door of his rental property next door.

The paper says McAndrew's tenants no longer owe rent to him but to Savana Realty of Peckville, the new owner of the house. Problem is, McAndrew never knew his property went up for sale a year and a half ago.

According to county records, the house in Green Ridge sold for only $450. A collections agency hired by Scranton told McAndrew he owed that amount in city taxes on his property eight years ago.

But, McAndrew said he has the receipt proving he paid back then. And he's continued to.

"After the home was sold for $450 in 2013, they whacked me for taxes in 2013 and again in 2014. I was still paying taxes on it! It's incredible that this could happen to somebody," McAndrew told Newswatch 16.

Officials with Scranton's City Treasurer's Office said they just found out about the mishap. They told Newswatch 16 that tax delinquent properties should receive certified mail and a note on the door before being sold.

Ron Burkland, who lives in north Scranton, said he never got that notification either.  Last Thursday, he too found out his home is not his.

Burkland admits that he fell behind on his taxes after his wife died in 2012. But, he did not know his home was for sale.

Burkland said he spotted a man on his porch with the same letter Bill McAndrew received. It told Burkland he now owes rent to Savana Realty for a house he thought he owned. A house he paid for in cash in 1989.

"What do you do? Right now, there are a lot of lawyers looking into it, the representative is looking into it. I don't know what's going on," Burkland said.

Bill McAndrew has taken the only recourse he feels he has at this point. He's filed a lawsuit against Scranton and the new owner of his house.

"They're stealing people's homes, and it's terrible! Terrible what they're doing to people who have no resources to fight back," McAndrew said.

Officials with the Scranton City Treasurer's Office and the Solicitor's Office said both of those properties were sold at the June 2013 treasurer's tax sale.

They are now looking into whether those two homeowners were notified about the sale and if their properties were supposed to be on the list in the first place.

Newswatch 16 reached out to Savana Realty for comment. We have not yet heard back.

61 comments

  • jason

    boy everyone’s running really wild with this. I buy property tax sale in the Harrisburg area first office has nothing at all to do with the city of Scranton and it is very, very easy for these people to get the house back, this stuff happens all the time. it is really easy for the owner of a property to look up what they owe in taxes online.

  • gotta keep digging

    MARJER INC
    PO BOX 252
    PECKVILLE, PA 18452
    This BOTTOM FEEDER/SLUMLORD is a partner with, Sunita Arora of ERA ONE SOURCE REALTY. In SAVANA PROPERTIES LLC. They bought these the same way, front door and “BACK DOOR” tax sales, when will it end????????
    PIN No. Owner Name Property Address Municipality
    01612020035 MARJER INC 315 CLINTON ST VANDLING
    11415050039 MARJER INC 713 E SCOTT ST OLYPHANT
    11505020046 MARJER INC 217 LANE ST JESSUP
    11511010039 MARJER INC 910 CHURCH ST JESSUP
    12408040049 MARJER INC 624 BOULEVARD AVE DICKSON CITY
    12416030029 MARJER INC 408 HAVERLY ST THROOP
    12416030033 MARJER INC 409 REAR CHARLES ST THROOP
    12509010011 MARJER INC 803 KOSSUTH ST L 3 THROOP
    13101010013 MARJER INC 14061 CHURCH HILL RD NEWTON
    14614040041 MARJER INC 128 E GROVE ST DUNMORE
    14616010043 MARJER INC 148 WILLOW ST DUNMORE
    17301050004 MARJER INC ABERDEEN RD JEFFERSON
    11406050034 MARJER INC 118 120 MAIN ST L 4 BLAKELY
    10413040029 MARJER INC 411 419 CEMETERY ST BLAKELY
    01705020003 MARJER INC 554 556 MAIN ST VANDLING
    03511030022 MARJER INC 22 SHANNON ST FELL TWP
    04507020037 MARJER INC FULTON ST FELL TWP
    04513040020 MARJER INC 72 DUNDAFF STREET CARBONDALE CITY
    08902010009 MARJER INC 1194 GRAVEL POND RD GLENBURN
    09413030037 MARJER INC MAIN ST ARCHBALD
    10011030061 MARJER INC 400 REAR LILAC LANE CLARKS SUMMIT
    10101020020 MARJER INC 435 EDELLA RD SOUTH ABINGTON
    10301010002 MARJER INC SCOTT RD L 1 BLAKELY
    10317020017 MARJER INC 8TH ST BLAKELY
    10412020020 MARJER INC 1134 DEAN ST L 9 ARCHBALD
    2030401001303 MARJER INC L R 35007 SPRINGBROOK
    CHECK THIS OUT ON THE LACKAWANNA COUNTY TAX ASSESSORS WEB PAGE. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Attorney at law

        The state Attorney General Kane has been notified, along with the Lackawanna County DA. Now let’s see if any action is taken by them, to see who the dirty, corrupt county employees are, and if they will be charged with anything. OR WILL THEY GET A SLAP ON THE WRIST, LIKE THE “PAY TO PLAY” TURNPIKE THIEVES. THEY STOLE MILLIONS, AND HAVE TO PAY A $2,500 FINE, AND PROBATION. And the great senator mellow……ALL CHARGES WERE DROPPED AGAINST HIM !!!!!!!!!

  • Kelly Ashland

    i watch my local tax sales and schuylkill co. is not to put a property up unless it is more then 3 years behind and in 2011 my mom was late for the first time ever paying her taxes on her other house. her house was set for the sept 2011 tax sale, come on not even a full year behind. but what we found out is if you are friends with someone in the tax office all you do is request a property late on its taxes to be in the sale and they will put it in. but yet the lot next to mine never seems to go in the sale even though it is 12 years in the rears and counting. and whats fishy is the lot next to mine is owned by the same people who use to own but lost the house of my moms that went in the tax sale. she did get it payed before the sale. and a few years ago a reality company got more then 100 properties in the area and didnt pay more then $1000 for each one and none ever showed up on the tax sale list.

  • Brian B Calderone

    Your ONLY hope is educating everyone you know in ‪#‎Pennsylvania‬ so they will help get The Property Tax Independence Act passed/enacted.

    Let The Keystone State (Pennsylvania) set the example other states who.
    currently victimize property owners with a property tax can follow.

    The Property Tax Independence Act (SB/HB76) eliminates the school.
    property tax, abolishes the school board’s authority to bankrupt and.
    evict home owners [and business property owners], restores True Property.
    Ownership, and 100% fully funds public schools without financially.
    ruining anyone.
    Learn all about it via http://www.ptcc.us.

  • Easymoney

    Should be easy for any lawyer. There is a Supreme Court case over 100 years old about notice. Owners just need to prove they did not receive reasonable notice of their property being sold

  • spirit of mr. cinderfoot 111

    My wife is drunk all the time,I say do not listen to her . Everything that is out of the ordinary of the old-fashion people,was brought to be by trash like herself and all the other scum in charge!

  • Fran

    Really think the city of Scranton should employ ppl that have some kind of education(BRAINS), more debt for us suckers that still live in this depressed city!!

    • it goes on and on and on in NEPA.

      Fran, they have brains, they are too smart for their own good. This is a county government insider scam. Do you think it was a coincidence that one woman found out about all these properties, at the same time. Someone inside the county tipped her off about them, and then prolly got a nice little envelope filled with CA$H, for their insider knowledge. On 12/13/2013 she bought 5 of them, and on 04/01/2014 she bought 4 more of them, C’MOOOOOONNNN, COINCIDENCE??? The best part is, SAVANA PROPERTIES, the one who bought them, is a Pa. Licensed real estate broker. Who works regularly with the Deeds, Tax, and county treasurers office. She knows them all. THE FEDS HAVE A PIECE OF CAKE HERE, SHOULD TAKE ALL OF ABOUT 10 MINUTES TO FIGURE OUT, WHO DID WHAT HERE, AND WHO BENEFITES FROM IT, FINANCIALLY. It is another black mark on NORTHEASTER PA, and we really don’t need any new black marks. Every time we hit the world news, it’s another courthouse scandal, or COLTS TRANSPORTATION, or the TURNPIKE PAY TO PLAY, OR KIDS FOR CASH, IT NEVER ENDS.

      • Uninformed Public That's Quick to Judge Without Doing Research of Their Own (here's to you)

        Regarding your comment: “Do you think it was a coincidence that one woman found out about all these properties, at the same time. Someone inside the county tipped her off about them, and then prolly got a nice little envelope filled with CA$H, for their insider knowledge,” it has absolutely NOTHING to do with coincidence. If you go on to the Tax Claim Bureau, under the Lackawanna County webpage, it clearly tells you when the tax sale will occur. There’s no “getting lucky”, or “tipping off,” it’s a smart business woman, who is constantly involved in the community outreach programs, and donating of herself, and her time, and her resources to better this area, while making some money. Maybe you should go get motivated about something and stop complaining that others are making money. Please consider doing some research on your own before you jump right in with something you don’t understand. Anyone can go into the Tax records and copy and paste the properties owned by this individual or corporation and get some “likes” on the page, but that doesn’t show anything except the purchase price. If these people owning these houses had paid their property taxes for the past two or more years then the homes wouldn’t be up for sale. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions and owning up to the decisions you’ve made that cost you the house in the first place. Don’t get mad when you lose something because you neglected to care for it and pay the county assessed taxes on your property. You’re being ridiculous.

      • montana realty

        Uninformed Public That’s Quick to Judge Without Doing Research of Their Own (here’s to you) THIS IS FOR YOU…….If she has nobody on the inside feeding her info, then why hasn’t her own tax delinquent properties hit the tax sale???? You are living in a fantasy land. This woman and her partners in crime are predators. Plain and simple. And whoever the accomplice is in the county office should be fired, at the minimum. Outreach programs?? Donating herself and her time, to better this area?? Wake- up… I had business with her one time, 8 years ago, and after my first experience with her, I never worked with her again. She is a scam artist and a fraud. Better the community???? SHE PAINTS A NICE PICTURE OF HERSELF, BUT SHE JUST RAN OUT OF PAINT. Like to chat more, but off to work I go.

    • it goes on and on and on in NEPA.

      Savana Realty is owned by Sunita Arora other broker/owner of ERA One Source Realty, cell number 570-510-5840.

  • Cynthia

    No different than the HOA criminality, property thefts and fraud closures that have been going on for over a decade, or longer in Monroe Country, PA. So, attorneys are looking into this, huh? Where were the attorneys for the innocent HOA victims? Oh, they were too busy setting them up to be victims of outrageous and unthinkable criminality by the HOA boards, HOA attorney and anyone else they could enlist!

  • Tim

    It would be nice if you guys would complete the story. It is easy to find out the owners of this company by asking the state. I bet 1 million dollars that the owners are somehow related to people that run Scranton or the county.

  • JoAnn Kennedy

    they do this in Northampton county too ….. my legal home was paid off and yet it went up for sale with a fake address and forged and irregular paperwork — the Middle class is being robbed.

  • Sara

    You deserve to lose that house after the stuff you put us through and how you still have some of our stuff at your house and refuse to give it back to us.

  • McAndrew is a loser

    McAndrew collected rent and never paid his taxes, he has been in the paper for years.
    He always ran around telling everybody about his “connections”.,
    He should have lost his property a long time ago.
    He has been a dead beat landlord for years. Karma happened here.
    The other guy, unfortunately was a victim of losing your house to not paying the taxes.

    • DontHate

      Welfare trash? Wow talk about discrimination. Until you walk in a person’s shoes, or until you see something like that face to face, you have no room to judge! I work for a local organization that helps those who are on welfare, and some of them are barely getting by , some try everything they can help themselves , and they still have problems getting by , they can not even afford to keep the lights on in their home! Some even end up on the streets!

      • Jennifer

        have you driven around scranton lately??? all these people are coming from ny and nj..look at their license plates. they come here b/c its easier to get welfare. fact. one person comes down, secures a place on section 8, then sends for the rest of the clan. fact. then they sit, not working, sucking up the welfare that should be used for those who do really need it!! they also are flocking here b/c its cheaper to live, AND cheaper to make drugs and easier to sell them! we need to get the trash out of that city and back to where they came from. They need to make it a law that if you want welfare you must live in the city for at least 5 years!!!!!!

      • cjg

        Like how we keep saying some are trying. You ever sit back and think this why most are against welfare pay outs.

        I appalued the ones that are trying.

  • Keith Hinkel

    Totally illegal, where are all you do gooder lawyers? Oh right its Scranton, the usual story of the Hard coal region, officials do as they want and lawyers are just a crooked as the politicians. Corbett where are you?? This must end now.

  • E

    This is absolutely priceless! Just when you think it can’t get any better, and by better I mean worse, it does. Lol. I’m so glad regional corruption is being investigated, it’s doing wonders for that city. (sarcasm)

  • Will Myers

    Just another example of Scranton stealing from its residents. No prospects, no opportunity, high taxes, crumbling infrastructure, rampant crime, indifferent police force & fat cat politicians voting themselves raises. Yeah, I moved out & haven’t looked back. I pity the decent, honest people who are too old to get out or are trapped due to their own situations or economic conditions in Scranton & elsewhere. The people of Scranton deserve better. What was once a proud city is now just a piggy bank for officials & their cronies to line their pockets at the expense of the citizens. Sad, very sad.

  • They take with both hands

    On 12/13/2013, Savana Properties/ Sunita from ERA ONE SOURCE REALTY, bought 5 of these properties, and then on 04/01/2014, bought 4 more of these properties. Is it just a coincidence that all these lucrative properties just landed on her lap??? Follow the paper trail, see who she is related to in the county office, or just a “good friend” of. DIG DIG DIG, AND THEN DIG SOME MORE.

    • Who Flungpoo

      Exactly! Even if these homes DID go up for legitimate tax sale(which they probably didn’t)…how did this one person end up getting them for such a good deal? It sounds to me like NOBODY was notified about these homes being for sale…except those who were in on the scam, of course. What dirt bags!

  • Concerned Citizen

    Savana Realty is owned by Sunita Arora other broker/owner of ERA One Source Realty, cell number 570-510-5840.

    • Deborah

      This “SCAM” has been going on for quite a long time! My taxes were included in my mortgage payment ( Which was not peanuts for me), The City sold my house for $766.00, even after the Mortgage co. re-payed the Tax dollars!! this happened in Sept. 2010!! I am still trying to fight them for my house, but “I Believe one hand is greasing the other” in downtown “SRCANTON”! They stole from me, all that I had, all that I worked for!! I Hope the AG’S OFFICE gets involved to put an end to this Theft of ones life (meaning what we have spent most of our hard earned $$$ on during our life time)!! Maybe there is still hope to get “My HOME Back!!! The City put themselves in this distressed plague, now they are stealing from us to try to pay their bills and wages!! It’s time for us to fight back!! Not loosing “HOPE”!!!

      • Robert L Paulson

        Write a letter to PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane. She is a Scranton area native and I’m sure would be very interested to hear that there are intermingled business affairs between the City of Scranton and a private realty firm. Scranton, already broke, is opening themselves up to a liability here that will bankrupt this city.

      • Miss Clairol

        Don’t write to Attorney General Kane. She’s too busy coloring and combing her hair to be bothered with pesky legal matters.

    • Yay! I like turtles!

      I’m no fan of communism either, but what the hell are you talking about? This scam has nothing to do with communism.

  • poonus

    property taxes are theft by deception. prove to me that the money goes someplace useful- because hospitals, roads, and schools all existed before the government demanded property taxes- those road taxes are already paid for by taxes on fuel…if you can’t pay your property taxes Scranton will steal your home… wonder why no one wants to live in Scranton? here’s why…$450 for a house in Greenridge….that’s a steal of a deal. Scranton residents keep voting for the leaders that keep ripping them off, and putting the city deeper in debt- good job folks, you homeowners are now all renters. how does that feel..end property taxes today.

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