The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Northumberland County

April 9, 2013

Muncy man: Moran got $2.6 million break on Sunbury code fees

SUNBURY — A Muncy man claims the city is owed at least $2.6 million in uncollected fees, licenses and fines from Moran Industries because of lack of oversight in the code department at the former Celotex site.

Drake Saxton presented council members with a three-page letter, stating the code office let Moran Industries, of Watsontown, get away with not paying for permits and did not apply to the code office for several projects.

Saxton spoke to council and Mayor David Persing, who directed all questions toward Councilman Joe Bartello, who is the code department chairman.

Bartello believes Moran Industries was in violation the day they took over Celotex in 2010, adding there is nothing on file for Moran Industries in the code office.

Saxton said after the meeting the city could face up to 50 lawsuits.

Sitting next to Saxton were Sunbury attorneys Kymberley Best and Tim Bowers, who took notes during Saxton’s presentation.

Right before Saxton spoke, Persing announced a law firm for Moran Industries filed a Right To Know request to search emails from Bartello’s computer.

Bartello uses a city-owned computer and agreed to let Moran look through the emails.

Persing made no comments about the accusations, but did say any questions should be directed at Bartello since it is his department.

Councilman Todd Snyder said the department should have a file and it should contain plans from city engineers.

“That should all be in there,” he said. “Once we look in there it should say what was needed from the code office and all that information should be available.”

After the meeting, Saxton said he believes the city did not manage the site.

“It appears there has been no code there,” he said. “I have all the information to back up what I say and right now we are investigating the legal options we have.”

Saxton refused to say what 50 people may be filing lawsuits against the city.

Calls to Moran Industries went unreturned.


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