Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Council Questions Mayor About Tax Collection Practices

Who should be collecting back real estate taxes on behalf of the city?

Council Questions Mayor About Tax Collection Practices

Who should be collecting back real estate taxes on behalf of the city?

Councilwoman Marian Tasco raised that issue today in Council with a blistering speech criticizing the Nutter administration for allowing a New Jersey based collection agency to pursue delinquent property taxes. Tasco said a Center City law firm hired by the city to collect some taxes has sub-contracted with the New Jersey firm XSPAND, which she says uses predatory lending tactics.

“I am so angry I can hardly speak,” Tasco said. “I want to know from our City Solicitor why this transaction was allowed.”

Mayor Nutter said the city would review the business practices of the firm. But he said the city’s priority was getting the money owed.

“As long as we’re getting done what we need to get done and collecting the dollars we need to collect, that’s our primary focus and point,” he said.

A little research on XSPAND reveals that this is a company founded by former New Jersey governor James Florio, which buys up municipal tax liens and then turns a profit by charging tax delinquents hefty service fees and interest rates. The company, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase, applied for a city contract earlier this year, but failed to receive it.

The law firm that subcontracted with XSPAND is Goehring, Rutter and Boehm.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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