Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.
Earlier this month, I posted Mark and Mike’s Excellent Adventure. It’s about the curious relationship between City of Easton Community Development Specialist Michael Brett, who also sits on the Zoning Hearing Board, and the City’s latest Revelopment Superhero, Mark “I’m not Swytlick” Mulligan.It just happens that Michael the public employee has parked his realtor license over at Mulligan’s VM Realty, a subsidiary of his VM Development Group.
Mulligan has the Simon Silk Mill, Wolf Building, Northampton National Bank and Pomeroy Building. Mulligan has taken advantage of every tax handout the City has been willing to pass along, and there’s been about $9 million so far.
Of course, when a city real estate redevelopment employee who also sits on the Zoning Hearing Board has a relationship with a developer like Mulligan, all kinds of alarm bells should be sounding. But not to Mayor Sal Panto. He promised to get a whitewash from the Ethics Commission, but also demanded, “Show me the beef!”
He might find a burger or two if he looks into the city records for 356-358 W. Wilkes-Barre Street. In 2012, that South Side brick twin was badly damaged when a fire broke out – twice – within the span of six hours.
The property (there are actually two attached row homes) was sold after the fire, in 2013, to an outfit that seemed to be created just for the purpose – 356-358 Wilkes-Barre L.P. According to state corporation records, its address is located at 130 Main Street in Flemington. Its General Partner is identified as 356-358 Wilkes-Barre 1A, LLC. That corporation’s address is listed as 400 Northampton Street in Easton, Suite 700.
The amounts paid – $21,900 and $17,700 – are well below what the properties are worth, even with the fire damage. Plus the new owner has access to monies in escrow with the City from the insurance company to ensure repairs are completed.
Whoever bought this property has gone to great lengths to conceal his identity, even to the point of creating a corporation and a partnership. But the identity of at least one of the partners in this venture can be determined by looking at the addresses listed – 130 Main Street and 400 Northampton Street, Suite 700.
Why would Easton’s biggest developer go to such great lengths to conceal his identity concerning a small South Side property?
It appears he may be trying to protect one of his partners. If you call the phone number for the permits issued to 356-358 Wilkes-Barre L.P., Michael Brett will answer the phone.
Sal, I’ll take pickles, ketchup and A-1 steak sauce on that burger. Maybe we can eat it at Cheeburger, Cheeburger.
Another interesting point is that the attorney who did all the deed transfers for this property is none other than Karl Longenbach. He just happens to be the father of Easton RDA Exec Director Gretchen Longenbach. Seems he’s been doing a lot of legal work for Mulligan lately.
Maybe I’ll have two hamburgers.