Clausi calls out Kaleta on $3,859 in back taxes
SUNBURY - David F. Kaleta, embroiled in a lawsuit against the county and Northumberland County Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy, owes approximately $3,800 in county, city and school district taxes from the past two years.
Kaleta attended Tuesday's commissioners' meeting to voice his concern over extensions being repeatedly granted for his Right-to-Know requests from the county and a remark made by Clausi at an Oct. 2 meeting involving a reported taped conversation. But after questioning Clausi on both issues, Kaleta, of Shamokin, was criticized by the commissioner chairman for not paying his taxes.
According to records at the county tax claims bureau, Kaleta and his wife, Kathi, who own properties at 146-148 E. Sunbury St., owe $3,859.44 in county, city and school district taxes, including penalties, interest and costs. The total includes $1,004.32 in 2011 and $957.60 in 2012 for the property at 146 E. Sunbury St., and $1,012.69 in 2011 and $884.83 in 2012 for 148 E. Sunbury St.
Clausi questioned Kaleta, who is on disability, about being behind on his taxes after the commissioner pointed out how concerned the Shamokin man was about the county's finances and other issues, including the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA).
He told Kaleta, "You are behind on your taxes and I would appreciate it if you paid them."
Kaleta reminded the commissioner he was on disability, but added no further comment at the meeting.
Reached Tuesday night, Kaleta said, "I'm on disability and we are paying taxes the best we can. We got caught up a lot last year."
Kaleta said Clausi's comment about the tax issue was "inappropriate."
Matt Wetzel, of Coal Township, among citizens at the meeting, later lambasted Clausi for humiliating and embarrassing Kaleta about his tax situation. Wetzel, who said he doesn't know Kaleta, also criticized Clausi for interrupting him a couple times while he was speaking.
Prior to Clausi raising the tax issue, Kaleta questioned the commissioner about part of the Oct. 2 meeting minutes that reads as follows:
"Chairman Clausi remarked that somebody told him about a conversation Mr. Shoch (Commissioner Richard Shoch) had with Mr. Kaleta (David F. Kaleta) or with Mr. Bowers (Attorney Timothy Bowers), and it was supposed to have been taped. He said if it comes to be available, they want to make sure you (Shoch) are telling the truth."
Shoch said he felt Kaleta's question was legitimate because it allegedly pertained to a private telephone conversation that was taped.
Clausi told Kaleta he would not answer any of his questions.
Kaleta said he has become frustrated over his repeated efforts to obtain information from the county through the Right-to-Know process.
Kaleta said every time he submits a request for information, a 30-day extension is automatically granted for the county to gather the information.
County solicitor Frank Garrigan told Kaleta he wasn't being "singled out."
"We generally require an additional 30 days," Garrigan said. "I tell Janet Povish, who is our Right-to-Know person, to grant an extension for most of the requests because it takes time to research."