Judges Opinions Public Notices, — December 23, 2020 7:37 — 0 Comments

Public Notices, December 23, 2020

Volume 58, No. 21

 

PUBLIC NOTICES

DECEDENTS’ ESTATES

ORPHANS’ COURT DIVISION NOTICES

CHANGE OF NAME

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William P. Hartmann

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Letters Testamentary or of Administration have been granted in the following estates. All persons indebted to the said estate are required to make payment, and those having claims or demands to present the same without delay to the administrators or executors named.

 

FIRST PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF JOAN GOVAN, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, died 12/09/2020. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

Jane G. Robertson, Executrix

 

George W. Porter, Esquire

909 E. Chocolate Ave.

Hershey, PA 17033

 

ESTATE OF ALEXANDER N. GINNETTO, JR., late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Gary L. Hoke, Executor

735 Glenwood Street

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Paul W. Kilgore, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF ROSENE M. DUFFY, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

Renee E. Duffy, Executrix

910 Lantern Drive

Lebanon, PA 17067

 

Paul W. Kilgore, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF BETTIE A. GIBBLE, late of West Cornwall Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Jean Bomberger, Executor

 

Young & Young

44 South Main Street

P.O. Box 126

Manheim, PA 17545

 

ESTATE OF JOAN Z. MAULFAIR, late of South Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Joel Maulfair, Executor

 

Keith D. Wagner

P.O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

SECOND PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF STEPHEN GERARD KUJOVSKY, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

Stephanie A. Kujovsky, Administrator

2012 Kline St.

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Michael S. Bechtold, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF CROSBY TOBIAS, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

Joya Morrissey, Administratrix

199 Millardsville Rd

Richland, PA 17087

 

Scott L. Grenoble, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF LILLIAN G. SLESSER, late of South Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

William Slesser, Executor

P.O. Box 6257

Oroville, CA 95966

 

Scott L. Grenoble, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF R. HAROLD E. SCHAEFFER, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Gary Schaeffer, Executor

2400 Mifflin St

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Scott L. Grenoble, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF DORIS HELEN PERRY, late of Jackson Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

David Perry, Executor

7418 Michael Ave

Easton, MD 21601

 

Michael S. Bechtold, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF RUTH E. NEPI, late of Union Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

Denise A. Loser, Executrix

2554 State Route 72

Jonestown, PA 17038

 

Scott L. Grenoble, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF JOHN S. KLINGLER, JR., late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

Kathy Ann Houser, Executrix

602 E Walnut St.

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Edward J. Coyle, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF JUAN R. COTTO, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration, d.b.c.t.n.a. have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

Michelle Cotto, Administratrix

711 E Mifflin St

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Bret M. Wiest, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF WINFIELD ROSS BOYD, JR., late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Winfield Ross Young, Executor

54 Wheatland Circle

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Michael S. Bechtold, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF CLINTON E. VAN BRUNT A/K/A CLINTON E. VANBRUNT, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

Karen L. Sensenig, Executrix

10 Walnut Mill Lane

Cleona, PA 17042

 

Michael S. Bechtold, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF LARRY KENNETH LEEDY, late of Bethel Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

Valerie Long, Administratrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF CRAIG P. SHUEY, late of Millcreek Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

Katy Beth Shuey, Administratrix, c.t.a.

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF JOHN A. MYERS, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix..

Lee Ann Hanner, Executrix

701 South 2nd Avenue

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Patrick M. Reb, Esquire

547 South 10th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

THIRD PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF JANE L. SULTZBAUGH, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Earl R. Beyer, Executor

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF HARVEY J. BOMBERGER, late of the Borough of Myerstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Carl H. Bomberger, Executor

418 Westfield Court

Lititz, PA 17543

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe

36 West Main Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF KENNETH J. NELSON, late of the Borough of Myerstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Rock A. Nelson, Executor

1260 Ash Lane

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Timothy T. Engler, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe

36 West Main Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF DAVID B. FAHNESTOCK, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

Wendy Jo Fahnestock, Co-Executor

 

Dane A. Fahnestock, Co-Executor

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF NANCY M. SNYDER, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

John L. Snyder, Co-Executor

 

Susan M. Comp, Co-Executor

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF LORRAINE H. ZUCK, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

Norma J. Swanger, Co-Executor

 

Dale T. Zuck, Co-Executor

 

Gerald J. Brinser, Esquire

  1. O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF ROBERT W. FIDLER, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Dodie Jill Houtz, Executor

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF ROBERT A. MEYER, SR., late of the Borough of Myerstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executors.

Robert A. Meyer, Jr., Executor

31 Georgie Lane

Richland, PA 17087

 

Steven T. Krall, Executor

202 S. Railroad Street

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

Timothy T. Engler, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe

36 West Main Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF CHRISTINE K. SCHOTT, late of Cornwall Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Robert D. Lutz, Executor

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF JENNIE E. HORSTICK, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

Ronald C. Horstick, Administrator

528 Douglas Road

Hummelstown, PA 17036

 

Joseph M. Farrell, Esquire

201/203 South Railroad Street

P.O. Box 113

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF GREGORY L. TRUMP, late of the Township of Heidelberg, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

Nicholas Trump, Executor

 

Young and Young

44 S. Main Street

P.O. Box 126

Manheim, PA 17545

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORPHANS’ COURT DIVISION NOTICES

 

Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County

Orphans’ Court Division Notices

 

Notice is hereby given that the following accounts in decedents estates, Guardianships and trusts have been filed in the Office of the Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court of Lebanon County, and that the same will be presented to the Court of Common Pleas-Orphans’ Court Division of said County for Confirmation NISI on

 

Monday, January 4, 2021

At 10:00 A.M.

in Courtroom No. 1, Municipal Building, City of Lebanon

 

FIRST AND FINAL ACCOUNTS WITH PROPOSED SCHEDULE OF DISTRIBUTION FILED BY EXECUTORS OR ADMINISTRATORS

 

  1. Rogers, Nancy A., aka Rogers, Nancy Anne, dec’d., David C. Rogers, Martha A. Gingrich and Frederick D. Rogers, Exrs., Jonathan B. Batdorf, Atty.

 

LIST OF ACCOUNTS WITH PROPOSED SCHEDULE OF DISTRIBUTION BY GUARDIANSHIPS AND TRUSTS

 

  1. #113 YEAR 1970, Ninth & Partial Account of Manufacturers & Traders Company, Successor Grdn of the Estate of Irvin L. Root, An Incompetent Person, John D. Enck, Atty.

 

All of the aforesaid accounts and statements of Proposed Distribution will be confirmed ABSOLUTELY as of course by the said Orphans’ Court except those to which exemptions are filed within twenty (20) days after the same are confirmed NISI.

 

Brian Craig

REGISTER OF WILLS AND CLERK OF ORPHANS’ COURT

LEBANON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHANGE OF NAME

 

Notice is hereby given that on the 9th day of December, 2020, the Petition of Mariko O. Rauch was filed in the above Court requesting an Order to change the name of M.O.B. to M.O.R. The Court has fixed the 20th day of January, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. before The Honorable Samuel A. Kline in Courtroom No. 2 of the Lebanon County Municipal Building, 400 South 8th Street, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, as the time and place for the Hearing of said Petition, where any and all interested parties may appear and show cause, if any they have, why the request of Petitioner should not be granted.

 

Corey M. Lamoureux, Esquire

 

Reilly Wolfson

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

(717) 273-3733

Attorneys for Petitioner

 

 

JUDGES OPINION

 

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William P. Hartmann

 

Criminal Action-Law-Ordinance Violation-Nuisance-Motion for Judgment of Acquittal-Sufficiency of the Evidence-Ownership of Property-Piercing the Corporate Veil Doctrine

 

Following a trial by jury, Defendant was charged with, convicted of and sentenced upon one (1) count of Failure to Comply with Code Requirement, 53 Pa.C.S. § 6115(a), with regard to the condition of property located in the City of Lebanon.  Defendant filed a Motion for Judgment of Acquittal asserting that the Commonwealth failed to prove that he was the owner of the property as required by the statute.

 

  1. A motion for judgment of acquittal challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining a conviction on a particular charge.

 

  1. A motion for judgment of acquittal is granted only in cases in which the Commonwealth has failed to carry its burden with regard to the conviction.

 

  1. In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining the conviction, the court must view the evidence presented and all reasonable inferences taken therefrom in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as the verdict winner.

 

  1. The term “owner” is defined by 53 Pa.C.S. § 6103 as a holder of the title to residential, commercial or industrial real estate, other than a mortgage lender, who possesses and controls the real estate including heirs, assigns, beneficiaries and lessees provided this ownership is a matter of public record.

 

  1. The corporate form will be disregarded under the piercing the corporate veil doctrine only when the entity is used to defeat public convenience, to justify wrong, to protect fraud or to defend crime.

 

  1. Where the Commonwealth’s own evidence established that the property in question was purchased in the name of Investment Resource Holdings at a tax sale, the tax claim deed was issued in the name of Investment Resource Holdings, notices of code violations regarding the property were issued to Investment Resource Holdings without naming Defendant as an individual, the Commonwealth’s witnesses identified Investment Resource Holdings as the property owner and the Commonwealth presented no evidence supportive of piercing the corporate veil, the Commonwealth failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Defendant held title to the property or possessed an ownership interest in the property so as to support his conviction.

 

L.C.C.C.P. No. CP-38-CR-0001628-2018, Opinion by John C. Tylwalk, President Judge, May 4, 2020.

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CRIMINAL DIVISION

 

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA           :           NO. CP-38-CR-1628-2018

:

  1.                                                                      :

:

WILLIAM P. HARTMANN                                      :

 

APPEARANCES:

ROBERT P. HARDING, ESQUIRE                        FOR THE COMMONWEALTH

ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY

 

  1. SCOTT FEEMAN, ESQUIRE FOR WILLIAM P. HARTMANN

FEEMAN LAW OFFICES

 

OPINION, TYLWALK, P.J., MAY 4, 2020.

 

In this action, Defendant William P. Hartmann (“Hartmann”) was charged with one count of Failure to Comply with a Code Requirement pursuant to 53 Pa.C.S.A. §6115(a), a first-degree misdemeanor, with regard to a property located at 519 North 11th Street in the City of Lebanon:

  • 6115. Failure to comply with a code requirement

(a) Offense defined.–The owner of real property commits the offense of failure to comply with a code requirement if all of the following apply:

(1) The owner of real property has been convicted of a second or subsequent serious violation of the same provision of a municipal code for the same property.

 

(2) The violation poses a threat to the public’s health, safety or property and the owner has not taken a substantial step to correct the violation.

 

(3) The violation is considered a public nuisance and the owner has not made a reasonable attempt to correct the violation.

 

(b) Grading.–Failure to comply with a code requirement shall constitute a:

 

(1) Misdemeanor of the second degree if the offense is a second conviction of a serious violation of the same provision of a municipal code relating to the same property.

 

(2) Misdemeanor of the first degree if the offense is based on three or more convictions of serious violations of the same provision of a municipal code relating to the same property.

 

(c) Definition.–As used in this section, “code requirement” shall mean a building, housing or property maintenance code or ordinance of a municipality.

 

53 P.S. §6115.  After a jury trial was conducted on August 23, 2019, Defendant was found guilty of this offense and was sentenced on January 22, 2020.[1]  Defendant has filed a Motion for Judgment of Acquittal, complaining that the Commonwealth failed to prove that he was the owner of the property as required for a conviction of Section 6115.   Both parties have filed Briefs and the Motion is before us for disposition.

A motion for judgment of acquittal challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a conviction on a particular charge, and is granted only in cases in which the Commonwealth has failed to carry its burden regarding that charge.  Commonwealth v. Emanuel, 86 A.3d 892 (Pa. Super. 2014).  A motion for judgment of acquittal in a criminal trial is a motion to dismiss the action on the basis that the evidence presented by the Commonwealth is not sufficient to sustain a verdict of guilty.  16A West’s Pa. Prac., Criminal Practice § 27:24.  In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence, we must view the evidence presented and all reasonable inferences taken therefrom in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, as verdict winner. The test is whether the evidence, thus viewed, is sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Commonwealth v. Davis, 799 A.2d 860 (Pa. Super. 2002).

The term “owner” is defined at Section 6103 of the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act[2] as follows:

“Owner.”  A holder of the title to residential, commercial or industrial real estate, other than a mortgage lender, who possesses and controls the real estate.  The term includes, but is not limited to, heirs, assigns, beneficiaries and lessees, provided this ownership interest is a matter of public record.

 

53 Pa.C.S.A. §6103.

 

At the jury trial, the Commonwealth presented the testimony of Belinda Spicer, Deputy Director of the Lebanon County Tax Claim Bureau (“Bureau”).  Spicer explained that the property located at 519 North 11th Street was purchased at a tax upset sale which was held on September 8, 2014.  Prior to the sale, Defendant registered as a bidder under the business name of Investment Resource Holdings, Inc.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 12)  and the bidder registration form was issued in the name of the business.   (N.T. 8/23/19 at 13; Exhibit “2”)  Spicer further testified:

District Attorney:  And Ms. Spicer, can you explain what the bidder registration has on it?

 

Ms. Spicer:  It essentially has the name and address, contact information of the bidder.  In this case, it was the information that is how the deed is going to be recorded if you are the successful bidder.  He indicated he wanted to deed it into a company name with his name as the contact person, and then his signature and dated.

 

District Attorney:  Just to walk through that a little bit.  Is there – he said he wanted it – “he” being Mr. Hartmann?

 

Ms. Spicer:  Correct.

 

District Attorney:  Wanted that property and is the address of the property on the bidder registration form?

 

Ms. Spicer:  His personal address is on it.

 

(N.T. 8/23/19 at 13-14)

Spicer testified that Defendant paid for the property that day with a check.  The holder of the check was Investment Resource Holdings which had the same address as on the bidder’s registration.  The check was signed by Defendant.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 14-15; Exhibit “3”)  A Bill of Sale in the name of Investment Resource Holdings was given to Defendant when payment for the property was made at the sale.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 16-17; Exhibit “4”)  Spicer testified that the Tax Claim Bureau deed for the property was recorded on November 20, 2014 and mailed to Investment Resource Holdings at the address indicated on the registration form filled out by Defendant.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 18; Exhibit “5”).   On re-direct examination, Spicer confirmed that Investment Resource Holdings was the name Defendant had registered when the property was purchased and that Defendant’s name and signature were indicated on the registration form as a contact for the business.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 34-35)

The Commonwealth also presented the testimony of Gerry Fisch, Property Maintenance Code enforcer for the City of Lebanon, Property Maintenance Code Enforcement and Public Safety Department.  Fisch testified that he inspected the property as a result of a structure fire which occurred on December 2, 2014.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 38)  He found that the structure on the property had been rendered unsafe due to the fire and issued several Notices of Violation of Lebanon City Ordinance Section 108.1.5 (International Property Maintenance Code).  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 41-42)  The Notice was mailed to Investment Resource Holdings at 1912 East Pennsylvania Avenue in Lebanon.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 42)  The first Notice was issued on December 29, 2014 (Exhibit “6A”).  The next Notice was issued on January 22, 2015 (Exhibit “6B”), a third was issued on May 28, 2015, and a fourth was issued on June 25, 2015 (Exhibit “7B”).  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 47-51)

Next, the Commonwealth presented the testimony of Duane Trautman, Fire Commissioner for the City of Lebanon.  Trautman testified that he had inspected the property and issued a report about the December 2, 2014 fire.  The Commonwealth questioned Trautman about the preparation of this report with the following exchange:

District Attorney:  Commissioner, as a part of authoring and completing that report, is one of the steps that you need to take determining who the owner of the property is?

 

Trautman:  Yes.

 

District Attorney:  Were you able to do that in this case?

 

Trautman:  Yes.

 

District Attorney:  Who did you determine the owner of the property was?

 

Trautman:  The owner of the property I believe in Assessment is listed as Investment Resource Holdings.

 

District Attorney:  Was that tied to anyone in particular?

 

Trautman:  Yes.

 

District Attorney:  Who was that?

 

Trautman:  William P. Hartmann.

 

District Attorney:  Would that be the Defendant in this case?

 

Trautman:  Yes.

 

District Attorney:  And how were you able to determine that Mr. Hartmann was the owner of the property?

 

Trautman:  Through a number of –

 

The Court:  You didn’t determine that Mr. Hartmann was the owner, you just said you determined that Investment Resource Holdings was the owner; right?  Wasn’t that your initial question?

 

District Attorney:  I’ll withdraw the question.

 

 

District Attorney:  How were you able to ascertain that Mr. Hartmann was tied to the property?

 

Trautman:  In this particular – I can’t say specifically how I determined Mr. Hartmann was tied to Investment Resource Holdings, other than to tell you when we – we knew who the owner was.  The Department of Public Safety was familiar with Mr. Hartmann and had previous troubles regarding property maintenance issues prior to the fire.  We already knew that.  We normally go – if he (sic) need to tie an owner or a person or an officer of a corporation, we normally go to the Department of States resources and make a determination, but that was not necessary in this case because we already knew Mr. Hartmann.

 

(N.T. 8/23/19 at 65-67)  Trautman further referred to a letter which had been sent to Defendant on August 5, 2017 “regarding the receipt of the affirmation of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania regarding the actions that were taken against Investment Resource Holdings.”  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 69; Exhibit “8).

The Commonwealth’s witness, Sergeant Jonathan Hess of the Lebanon City Police Department, who had filed the charges in this action, also referred to Defendant as the “owner” but explained that he had received that information from Trautman.  Trautman had provided Sergeant Hess with a copy of this Court’s Order of May 2, 2016 in which we found Investment Resource Holdings, Inc. guilty of the four citations and other legal documents which had been filed with regard to the condition of the property.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 104-109; Exhibit “19”).  On cross-examination, Hess was questioned regarding the issue of ownership:

Defendant:  Okay.  When you filed the charges and you were aware that Investment Resource Holdings was the owner of the property. What prompted you to charge me personally for the criminal charges?

 

Hess:  Because the information in the folder indicated that you were the responsible party for Investment Resource Holdings.

 

….

 

Defendant:  And that is how you determined who the owner of the property is in your opinion.

 

Hess:  Yes.

 

Defendant:   Exhibit 19, I believe that I handed out last?

 

Hess:  That is correct.

 

Defendant:  Who does it say the Commonwealth suit is against?

 

 

The Commonwealth suit, who is that against?

 

Hess:  It’s Commonwealth verses Investment Resource Holdings.

 

Defendant:  And that suit is concerning the four violations that were prior; correct?

 

 

It’s directed to Investment Resource Holdings?

 

Hess:  They are identified as the Defendant on this particular document, yes.

 

(N.T. 8/23/19 at 112-113)  Hess acknowledged that Defendant was not named as the defendant in that case.  (N.T. 8/23/19 at 115)

Even viewing this evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth as the verdict winner, we agree with Defendant that the Commonwealth failed to sustain its burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the owner of the property.  The Commonwealth’s own evidence established that the property was purchased in the name of Investment Resource Holdings at the tax sale as reflected by the registration, the payment check, the Bill of Sale and the Tax Claim deed which was issued in the corporate name. The Notices of Violations regarding the property were issued to Investment Resource Holdings as the owner of the property.  All litigation involving those violations named Investment Resource Holdings as the sole defendant and Defendant was not involved as an individual.  There was no evidence of any disregard of the corporate entity or that Defendant himself was ever cited or convicted for any code violations with regard to the property.[3]  The only conviction for these violations was against investment Resource Holdings.  Moreover, the Commonwealth’s own witnesses referenced Investment Resource Holdings as the property owner and failed to provide any testimony or documentary evidence whatsoever of Defendant’s ownership as required to support Defendant’s conviction on this charge.  As such, the Commonwealth did not prove that Defendant held title to the property or possessed any ownership interest which was a matter of public record as required by Section 6103 of the statute.

For these reasons, we will grant Defendant’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal and enter an Order dismissing this charge against him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CRIMINAL DIVISION

 

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA           :           NO. CP-38-CR-1628-2018

:

  1.                                                                      :

:

WILLIAM P. HARTMANN                                      :

 

ORDER OF COURT

 

AND NOW, this 4th day of May, 2020, upon consideration of Defendant’s Motion for Judgment of Acquittal, and the Briefs submitted by the parties, it is hereby Ordered that said Motion is GRANTED.  The charges lodged against Defendant in this matter are hereby DISMISSED.

BY THE COURT:

 

                                                                                    __________________________, P.J.

                                                                                    JOHN C. TYLWALK

 

JCT/jah

 

Cc:  District Attorney

  1. Scot Feeman, Esquire/Feeman Law Offices/815 Cumberland Street, Suite

          200/Lebanon, PA  17042

   Leslie Fillak/Court Administration

   Judith Huber, Esquire/Law Clerk

 

 

 

 

[1] Defendant was not represented by counsel and conducted his own defense at the jury trial.

[2] 53 Pa.C.S.A. §6101 et seq.

[3]  The corporate form will be disregarded under the piercing the corporate veil doctrine only when the entity is used to defeat public convenience justify wrong, protect fraud, or defend crime.  Therefore, when the court must prevent fraud, illegality, or injustice, or when recognition of a corporate entity would defeat public policy or shield someone from public liability for crime, “piercing of the corporate veil” is appropriate, so long as the rights of innocent parties are not prejudiced nor the theory of corporate entity rendered useless.  12 Summary Pa. Jur. 2d Business Relationships §1:28 (2d ed).  Factors to be considered in deciding whether to pierce the corporate veil include undercapitualization, failure to adhere to corporate formalities, substantial intermingling of corporate and personal affairs, and use of the corporate form to perpetuate a fraud.  Id.  It is proper to submit the question of corporate disregard to the jury.  Id.  The Commonwealth presented no such evidence at Defendant’s jury trial here.

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