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Did Hellertown Area Library [HAL] Commit Tax Fraud?

During the Lower Saucon Township Council meeting on February 21, 2024, it was revealed during council discussion that the Hellertown Area Library (HAL) may have committed tax fraud. The accusation was made via an email to councilmembers and was brought up during discussion of a potential settlement with HAL and with a motion to cease all pending litigation related to HAL [read our article here].

 

library-tax-fraud?

Councilmember Tom Carocci shared an email received from Gina DeSantis urging Council to “get over the HAL thing.” The email went on to state, “They are 100% guilty of fraud in one way or another. I know this for a fact because they used to offer library discount rates and avoidance of sales tax to citizens who joined their friends’ group.” [Saucon Voice is working to validate this accusation directly from the source, however, it was read into the public record as reported here].

 

Carocci continued, “I think that they [Hellertown Area Library] were committing a fraud by avoiding the sales tax on selling the books.” Carocci went on to add the Township solicitor Steve Goudsouzian’s wife was a board member of HAL during the time that these accusations were alleged to have been occurring. The [Hellertown Area Library] Board apparently authorized this arrangement with the friends’ group.”

 

Carocci continued by suggesting that, “this settlement proposal came from Mr. Goudsouzian to cover this up. We asked him if anyone instructed him to write the settlement language that was proposed and he said no, he had taken it up on his own to do this.”

 

Carocci suggested that this is all a cover up of the tax fraud, fraud to turn over emails, and the fraud of not answering questions as to why they were not turned over. “Mr. Goudsouzian and the Democrats on Council just want to whitewash all of this.”

 

Council President Priscilla deLeon didn’t address any of the serious allegations, simply stating, “I feel that if you’re in litigation with someone, the two solicitors should sit down and come up with a settlement.” She continued, “We have to start somewhere, and I think this is good start to get our relationships back.”

 

Councilmembers Victoria Opthof-Cordaro and Laura Ray both made mention of the more than $200,000 of taxpayer money that had already been spent on litigation through the firm Eckert Seamans, regarding the Hellertown Area Library. But Councilmember Carocci was quick to point out that those costs were incurred “because the Hellertown Library wasn’t cooperating and turning over emails, wasn’t sitting for depositions and showing up for court hearings to delay things.”

 

The Democrat majority on council was successful (along party lines) in essentially quashing the ongoing litigation by authorizing the solicitor to seek settlement, which means residents of the community may never find out the truth regarding inappropriate actions by the Hellertown Area Library using taxpayer money.

 

You can read more about HAL being ordered to turn over documents in this article, or read more about HAL and Hellertown’s refusal of Lower Saucon’s original settlement in this article.


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