Official not paying taxes on estate land
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Wilkins tax collector George M. Porado has tax troubles of his own.
In 1993, his father -- George Porado -- died, leaving a vacant parcel of property on Harrison Road to his son and daughter.
But the father's estate still owns the land, and owes $1,607 in delinquent taxes.
Property taxes are unpaid from 2003 to 2005, amounting to $1,284 to Woodland Hills School District, $213 to Allegheny County and $111 to Wilkins. This year's taxes also are unpaid, but liens have not been filed.
Mr. Porado, as executor, is responsible for the bills.
He has served as Wilkins treasurer and tax collector for 28 years and is paid $9,000 a year. He also works in the accounting department of the Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority.
Mr. Porado stopped paying taxes on the Harrison Road parcel, he said last week, because the estate has no money.
"I do not own it," he said. "My father purchased it. ... I don't feel I should be paying taxes on a piece of property I don't own and that has no value."
The estate itself has been enmeshed in dispute. Mr. Porado did not file the will right away. Four years after his father's death, his sister, Paula Jean Stevens, of Monroeville, petitioned Orphans' Court to compel him to probate the will.
Her brother had told her that their father had no assets when he died, she said, so there was no need to probate the will.
The estate has few assets and she did know of them, he responded to her petition, and probating the will would be a waste.
The Register of Wills ordered him to file the will.
The estate inventory listed assets of $4,121, including $1,200 as the value of the Harrison Road property. After funeral expenses, the estate showed a net value of $579.
The county currently lists the market value of the 25,702-square-foot Harrison Road lot at $10,000.
Mr. Porado, according to the inheritance tax return, had hoped to resolve the family dispute, but his sister refused to settle because she was claiming the estate had more assets than had been disclosed. However, there has been no court action.
The Harrison Road parcel has never been conveyed to the children or sold, and there has been no action in the estate for nine years.
Mrs. Stevens' husband, Richard, said the case had become too expensive to pursue.
"I'm sorry my dad purchased it," Mr. Porado said of the vacant lot. "It's been nothing but a headache for me."
He said the property is worthless because it is mostly ravine and the level area isn't big enough to build on.
"I have no idea what he wanted to do with it," he said. "Maybe he thought he was getting a deal when he bought it."
Mr. Stevens said he and his wife had just moved back to the area from New Hampshire in 1976, and his father-in-law bought the parcel for them to build a house.
"With that steep back and small kids, we weren't interested," he said.
His father-in-law bought the parcel for $500 in 1977 from Irene Pohl, whom, according to Mr. Stevens, the elder Porado was dating. She had purchased the property three months earlier for $100.
Both were active in Wilkins government. Mr. Porado was a township commissioner. Miss Pohl, who died in 2000, also served as a commissioner for several years, and the Wilkins municipal building is named for her.
The land previously figured in a tax matter. In 1947, when it was owned by the estate of Mary Pohl, executor Albert Pohl sold it for $2,300 to settle the estate's debts.
Mr. Porado, the tax collector, characterized the property as abandoned.
"There are a lot of abandoned properties like that," he said, "where there is no way of collecting on them, mostly hillsides, unusable. It's not even worth the school district pursuing something like that."
He said he has considered turning the property over to the township, to get it off the tax rolls.
First Published July 27, 2006 12:00 am