Mayor Peduto reopens investigation into city home sale in Beechview
August 21, 2018
Mayor William Peduto has asked the Office of Municipal Investigations to reopen its inquiry into the sale of a vacant city-owned home to the city’s real estate manager.
The home on Tropical Avenue in Beechview was vacant and tax delinquent from 2009-2016 and was offered at Treasurer’s Sale in 2015. No buyers came forward. The following year the city’s real estate manager – an employee in the city’s Finance Department – bid $2,500 to buy the house, and the purchase was approved by City Council.
After news reports on the sale this June, OMI opened an investigation into the matter. The inquiry was closed, as there are no city policies or guidelines prohibiting city employees from buying city real estate.
However, a news report this month found there was another 2017 bidder on the property, raising the question whether there should have been a competitive auction to purchase it. That report spurred Mayor Peduto to call for the OMI inquiry to be reopened.
The investigation is expected to study if the sales price of the home was appropriately valued; if the purchaser was qualified under the normal course of business; if the sale was properly advertised; and if the normal sales process was followed.
Mayor Peduto has also asked the Director of Finance to work with the Law Department to review current policies involved with the sale of real estate.