The Richboro school house was built facing Second Street Pike. It was abandoned by the Council Rock School District and bought by speculators who sold it for a million dollars extra. It was eventually abandoned again, moved to the rear of the lot and sat for several years as the township worked to sell the property.

In 2013 a Jewish congregation submitted a $470,000 bid. The bid was proper, I’s dotted and T’s crossed. It was not rejected. None of the parties involved alleged the bid was insufficient or that is did not meet the RFP. But, and this is the crux of the problem,  the time to bid was extended by some unknown people in Northampton Government allegedly at the request of the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority.

At the very end of the extended bid period another bid was received from a different bidder for $400,000 along with the request for a $100,000.00 loan from Northampton Township which would have cost Northampton no money since the property is completely owned by Northampton, having been received free of charge and the township does not pay taxes on it’s properties. It was sort  of not accepted and another bid was made, this time for $450,000 with a load request of $150,000. The initial bid for $475,000 cash at settlement was still active.

The building has been vacant for about a long time. The value for tax purposes was probably very low because the building is a shell meaning it has no basement; no sewer connection; no water connection; no rooms and no heat. It was placed by the township manager on the Dec 11th, 2013 Supervisor’s agenda for the Northampton township Board of Supervisors meeting but was removed before the meeting even though the information was in the meeting information prepared by the manager for the meeting.

December 11th was the last Board of Supervisor’s meeting for Frank Rothermel and Jim Cunningham. I was there and witnessed about twenty Jewish citizens, about six of whom spoke at the microphone and urged them to approve the sale. Frank Rothermel outlined the history of the issue and moved that the sale be voted on by the Supervisors. In a break from procedure another board member made yet another motion inside Frank Rothermel’s motion. The second motion was improperly made. It was to table the discussion. No one explained why the motion to table was made. It passed 3 to 2, Rothermel and Cunningham voting against. The issue was tabled, Rothermel’s motion is still on the record.

The back story, not discussed in public, is religious groups are tax exempt. Is that the reason the time for bidding was extended? Does that explain the Motion to table? Do you smell rotting fish?

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