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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council is trying to figure out whether or not the city’s revenue department is keeping accurate financial records after Eyewitness News discovered a million-dollar discrepancy.
The Philadelphia Revenue Department provided documents showing it’s owed $1.5 million from the commonwealth’s biggest landlord: the Philadelphia Housing Authority. But the housing authority contends it doesn’t owe a dime and had already paid the city for dozens of demolition projects.
Officials with Philly’s Licenses and Inspections Department, speaking on background about demolitions, said L&I hires contractors to knock down “imminently dangerous” properties. Then the revenue department sends a bill.
“The city does pay up front for those demolitions but we bill the property owners because they are expected to reimburse the city,” said Karen Guss with L&I.
Eyewitness News discovered more than 70 PHA properties demolished by city contractors from 2016 to 2018, according to Philadelphia Revenue Department documents. We showed the documents to City Councilman-At-Large David Oh, who pointed out that Philadelphia doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to record keeping.
“It also raises, in my mind, whether or not those records are accurate,” Oh said. “If they are accurate, if there isn’t some other relationship we have, if PHA is saying we’re owed this money.”
Oh may be referring to an incident from back in April, when the City of Philadelphia could not find $33 million from its largest cash account.
Today, the Reconciliation Task Force announced that the City Treasurer’s Office reconciled nearly all of that money.
Now, Councilmembers David Oh and Allan Domb want to get to the bottom of the million-dollar money mystery with the PHA.
Meantime, for its part, officials with the Philadelphia Housing Authority said if the revenue department investigates then it will find PHA has a $0 balance with it.