We're learning that the property owners of the Kensington warehouse that burned down, killing two Philadelphia firefighters earlier this month, are in better standing with the City of Philadelphia than originally indicated.
The day after the fire, the city released a document showing the owners had 30 properties in Philadelphia and owed $385,665.42 in back taxes. Those initial tax figures came from the Board of Revision of Taxes which show the amount of taxes owed on a property but do not show whether property owners are making any attempt to pay down their debt.
Investigators went to the city's Revenue Department to get more details on each property and learn about the disposition of money owed in each case, according to Mark McDonald, Mayor Michael Nutter's press secretary. Records showed that in most cases, the property owners were making payments or had worked out a payment plan on the delinquent taxes.
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"I would say they are cooperative, they are compliant, they are paying their taxes," Revenue Commissioner Keith Richardson told us this afternoon. He says the four properties which YML Realty and Yichiel Lichtenstien are delinquent on and have not worked out any plans to pay down amount to $5,161. Richardson says the city is working aggressively to collect that money.
Richardson said the city has not been cutting any deals with the owners and doesn't plan to because they don't make allowances like that for property owners who are consistently late paying their taxes.
"If you're a first-time person whose late, we'll work with you, but for the people who are chronic, we're not gonna cut deals," Richardson said.
New Document Released by City on April 20, 2012:
[Properties in red are the properties in arrears with no plan for payment]
Initial Document Released by City on April 10, 2012: