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Couple loses McNair House lawsuit; Germaks claim ‘misrepresentation’ in borough bid process

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 6/26/19

A Dauphin County judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Middletown’s Industrial and Commercial Development Authority by the new owners of the McNair House.

On April 17, Judge John J. …

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Couple loses McNair House lawsuit; Germaks claim ‘misrepresentation’ in borough bid process

Posted

A Dauphin County judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against Middletown’s Industrial and Commercial Development Authority by the new owners of the McNair House.

On April 17, Judge John J. McNally dismissed the suit that Adam and Virginia Germak filed in May 2018. The Germaks sued the ICDA following their purchase in late November 2017 of the property at Union and Emaus streets from the ICDA for $90,000.

McNally in his order said the ICDA could not be held “liable” for acts of fraud the Germaks had alleged against the ICDA in the lawsuit.

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The Germaks alleged the ICDA had made multiple “misrepresentations” regarding the property, including concealing from the Germaks that theirs had been the highest of three bids the ICDA had received for the McNair House.

That led to the Germaks paying $19,000 more for the property than they should have, the Germaks alleged in the lawsuit.

The Germaks also alleged the ICDA failed to disclose roof and water damage that they said would cost them $107,744 to fix, based on construction estimates.

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The couple further alleged that ICDA failed to disclose information regarding the ICDA evicting a tenant from the house who had been receiving voucher payments from the Section 8 program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

ICDA Chairman Ian Reddinger — a borough councilor — said the Germaks bought the property for less than its appraised value, gaining equity in the deal. He said the couple was given ample opportunity to inspect the property before they purchased it.

After nearly a year in court and the Germaks spending about $27,000 in legal fees, McNally in dismissing the case agreed with arguments from the borough solicitor on behalf of the ICDA, that the authority “is a local agency not liable for acts or conduct constituting actual fraud.”

The Germaks say the case never got to the meat of the issues they sought to raise. Their lawyer told them they could appeal, but it would be a waste of money, they said.

Reddinger said he considered the Germaks’ lawsuit frivolous, a position he says was upheld by McNally’s ruling. He could not say how much the suit cost borough taxpayers, but “It wasn’t cheap.”