Timeline of controversy at Center City Apartments, Shamokin
Timeline of controversy
From various battles in court at the county and state level, to a mortgage on which a payment has not been made in more than 13 years, the ongoing legal battle between Red Gold Enterprises, Inc., and company owner Eugene Picarella and the Shamokin Housing Authority over the Center City Apartments complex has raged for the past three years. Red Gold filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Wednesday and a court-ordered for a sheriff's sale to be postponed for a second time.
Following is a timeline of events:
Jan. 12, 2009 - The rehabilitation of the Center City Apartments building is one of the projects earmarked for a $2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Grant for the City of Shamokin, with the Shamokin Housing Authority helping the city to acquire it.
Jan. 19, 2009 - The City of Shamokin votes no on trying to get the grant. The decision is later affirmed at a Feb. 2 special meeting.
Feb. 5, 2009 - Ten residents of the Center City Apartments building, who receive federal housing subsidies, are informed by a letter from the Shamokin Housing Authority their subsidies are in jeopardy by staying there, since the authority has no contract with the building's owners, Red Gold Enterprises, Inc.
April 29, 2009 - Red Gold tenants are given a 30-day notice to move from Center City in order to keep their housing subsidies.
June 1, 2009 - The authority announces it has acquired Red Gold's mortgage for Center City Apartments from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. They report the company has not made a mortgage payment in 11 years with a total of $1.1 million in principal, interest and fees owed from the mortgage and the company not paying property taxes since 2004, owing approximately $74,000.
July 8, 2009 - Two Center City Apartment residents are given 10-day eviction notices from Red Gold. The residents said they were being evicted for being spies "for the housing authority," but company owner Eugene Picarella said they were evicted because the housing authority did not pay their housing subsidies. The authority then filed an eviction notice on an apartment in the complex believed to be used by Picarella.
July 23, 2009 - One month before Center City was scheduled to be sold at Northumberland County's first judicial sale in eight years, Red Gold pays the $72,068.37 in back property taxes, taking the building off the market.
July 28, 2009 - Red Gold files a lawsuit against Shamokin Housing Authority to quiet the mortgage, saying that a foreclosure action brought by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency was dismissed with prejudice in 2004, meaning that no other action can be taken on the mortgage, which Red Gold calls "invalid." The suit also charges the authority has withheld over $32,000 in rental subsidies up to this point, an amount that would increase by $12,000 every month.
Aug. 31, 2009 - Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III puts a stop on any evictions at Center City, saying that residents were paying their rent, some were just paying them to Red Gold, while others were to the authority, which has kept them in escrow until the matter is settled.
Jan. 29, 2010 - Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor rules that the mortgages on the building are valid, as the amount owed on them has increased to $1.5 million.
February 2010 - Red Gold appeals Judge Saylor's ruling on the mortgage with the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
May 4, 2010 - Red Gold wins its first battle in court, as Judge Saylor denies a Shamokin Housing Authority request to appoint a receivership to manage Center City Apartments while the dispute is going on.
May 19, 2010 - Judge Saylor hands down an order saying that the costs of operating the Center City Apartments will be split with Red Gold paying 76 percent of the costs and the housing authority paying 24 percent, including the $6,667.92 debt service payment every month.
Aug. 24. 2010 - Saylor amends his order, dropping the debt service amount paid by Red Gold from $5,000 to $2,000. The $1,067 owed by the authority, is taken off the debt amount.
Oct. 8, 2010 - The Shamokin Housing Authority, as mortgage holder, executed a writ for a sheriff's sale on Center City Apartments. The sale was continued after it was reported that Red Gold representatives were evading service of the writ by Northumberland County Deputy Sheriffs.
Oct. 26, 2010 - The Pennsylvania Superior Court hears oral arguments on Red Gold's appeal of the mortgage decision by Saylor.
Dec. 30, 2010 - Judge Saylor grants a Red Gold petition to stay the sheriff's sale of Center City Apartments until the state Superior Court makes its ruling.
May 27, 2011 - The state Superior Court affirms Saylor's rulings that the mortgages against Red Gold for Center City Apartments are valid. The court also ruled against Red Gold on Aug. 24 on the confessed judgment Saylor issued based on court statements made by Picarella that payments were not made on the mortgage.
July 6, 2011 - Saylor continues the stay on sheriff's sale proceedings for Center City Apartments as the two sides await a decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court if the court will hear arguments in the case.
Feb. 23, 2012 - The state Supreme Court denies Red Gold's appeal on Saylor's and the superior court's ruling. Authority director Ronald Miller says that the Shamokin Housing Authority will begin court proceedings to secure Center City Apartments.
May 30, 2012 - Saylor continues the stay on the sheriff's sale awaiting a decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Red Gold's petition for the court to reconsider their affirmation on Saylor's 2010 ruling that the mortgages are valid. The judge rules that if the state Supreme Court does not reconsider, the stay would be lifted.
June 13, 2012 - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denies Red Gold's application for reconsideration. The Shamokin Housing Authority later schedules the Sheriff's Sale on Center City Apartments for Saturday, Sept. 27.
Sept. 26, 2012 - Following a 11th-hour court proceeding, Saylor orders another stay on the sheriff's sale after receiving notification that Red Gold Enterprises, Inc. has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.