|Clairemont estate in Buckingham|
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Risoldis ask court for cash to pay delinquent property taxes
Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2016
A prominent Bucks County family awaiting trial in a $20 million insurance fraud case has asked the county court to release $50,000 in frozen assets so it can pay delinquent real estate taxes on four properties.
In a motion filed earlier this month, attorneys representing Carl Risoldi requested the court release the money. The motion said the properties — including the family’s 10-acre Buckingham estate, Clairemont — would go up for sheriff’s sale later this year if the taxes aren't paid soon.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office obtained a temporary restraining order last year under the civil asset forfeiture law for the four properties that now have delinquent tax bills. The attorney general believes the properties are directly or indirectly owned by the Risoldi family.
“The properties will be sold on September 20, 2016 (if the taxes aren't paid),” according to the motion. “Therefore, this court’s orders to preserve the properties will be rendered meaningless if the delinquent taxes are not paid.”
That isn’t true, according to the Bucks County Tax Claim Bureau. Property owners who fail to pay real estate taxes in 2015 have until June 30, 2017, to pay, unless the owner continues to make timely payments after that, based on an agreement with the county, according to Marguerite Genesio, director of the tax claim bureau.
Carl Risoldi’s attorney, Michael Engle, declined to comment on the motion to release the funds.
Through their respective attorneys, the family consistently has denied any wrongdoing in the state’s fraud case.
The restraining order was obtained since the properties could be sold for restitution if members of the Risoldi family are convicted in their upcoming trials involving alleged insurance fraud stemming from claims related to a fire at Clairemont. The first trial for family matriarch Claire Risoldi is scheduled to start in June.
The restraining order prohibits the owners from selling, mortgaging or otherwise altering the properties, which the state estimates are collectively worth an estimated $3 million. The state estimates the potential restitution to insurer AIG could be more than $15 million, according to court documents. The restraining orders are against Clairemont and three properties on Danielle Drive in Buckingham.
The state also has seized more than $3 million in vehicles and cash from the family in connection with the fraud case, according to the motion.
Court documents state the Risoldis owe $46,350.58 in back taxes on the properties. Carl Risoldi has asked the court to release $50,000 that would be used to pay the taxes.
Carl, 44, is the son of 68-year-old matriarch Claire Risoldi. The state has accused Claire and Carl as well as Claire's daughter, Carla, 49, and Carl’s wife, Sheila, 44, with falsifying and inflating the value of items lost or damaged in an Oct. 22, 2013, fire at Clairemont.
Claire Risoldi also is accused of engaging in fraud related to previous insurance claims and faces charges of witness intimidation and obstruction of justice in the fraud case.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @JoCiavaglia