MOUNT CARMEL — A landlord who has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars over the years for dilapidated properties in lower Northumberland County is now facing misdemeanors for allegedly failing to abide by Mount Camel Borough’s Landlord Registration Ordinance.
George Atiyeh, 61, of 147 S. Maple St., Mount Carmel, has been charged by Patrolman Justin Stelma with public nuisance, a misdemeanor of the second degree, and disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor of the third degree for allegedly allowing a tenant to reside at 15-25 E. Fifth St. without the property being inspected and certified for occupancy.
According to the criminal complaint, Mount Carmel Code Officer Bryan Polifka received a complaint on Aug. 5 that a new family had moved into an apartment at 15-25 E. Fifth St, owned by BayTay LLC. Atiyeh is a member of the corporation and is the property manager for the building.
The resident informed Polifka that he had been living there since Aug. 4. On Aug. 6, Atiyeh was issued a citation for allowing occupancy of the premises without inspection and certification.
The complaint says the borough attempted to make accommodations with Atiyeh to have the property inspected; however, a second citation was issued on Aug. 10 after the defendant failed to respond.
A third citation was issued on Aug. 12 after it was determined the tenant was still living in the apartment without an inspection. A fourth citation was issued on Aug. 20.
Stelma claims that Atiyeh did not made any attempt to have the property inspected and certified through Oct. 26.
“The residence was not inspected, therefore the conditions of the property are unknown, posing a threat to the adjoining neighbors,” Stelma alleges in the complaint. “It is unknown of any structural issues of the building as well as living conditions. Mount Carmel Borough requires that all rental properties be inspected to ensure the safety of the occupant as well as the safety of neighbors.”
According to court records, on Oct. 13, Atiyeh was found guilty of six summaries pertaining to three properties he owns. At the conclusion of a 90-minute hearing, Magisterial District Judge William Cole ruled Atiyeh was guilty of not inspecting properties, failing to register tenants and allowing a dilapidated structure to exist. He was ordered to pay several thousand dollars in fines plus costs.
The citations filed by Polifka in August relate to incidents at properties at 220 S. Orange St., owned by Northeast Apartments LLC; 15-25 E. Fifth St.; and 124 S. Vine St., owned by Situ Realty LLC.
Atiyeh is the property manager for each of the locations where the violations occurred and is a member of the corporations that own the structures.
During the hearing, Atiyeh claimed he was being “targeted” by borough council and Polifka, and has invested more money in the area than anyone else by purchasing over 200 properties in 13 years.
In September, Mount Carmel Borough Council President Robert Shirmer accused Atiyeh of costing taxpayers approximately $150,000 in demolition and related costs over the years.
According to court records, Atiyeh has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines in the past couple years for dilapidated properties in the Shamokin and Mount Carmel area.
In 2016, a total of 26 bankruptcy properties in Shamokin and Coal Township that were formerly owner by Atiyeh were sold during an auction on the second floor of Independence Fire Company. Sixty-seven properties were initially listed for sale, but some of those were sold prior to the auction or removed from the list for other reasons. Approximately 40 properties were up for sale at the auction.