Yuengling given additional time to respond to Phila. tax complaint

By Jon Campisi | Mar 22, 2013

Attorneys for the City of Philadelphia embroiled in a tax case with prominent area beer

maker D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. and lawyers representing the defendant have entered into a stipulation giving the brewery extra time by which to respond to the complaint.

Court records show that Richard L. Yuengling, Jr. and his company, both named as defendants in a civil tax case, have been granted an extension of time by which to file an answer to the complaint, which was filed by city attorneys at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 30.

The stipulated agreement was filed on March 12 and signed by Assistant City Solicitor Susan M. Crosby and defense attorney Wendi L. Kotzen, who, along with fellow Philadelphia lawyer Keith B. Joseph, represents the defendants.

The defendants’ attorneys are partners with the Philadelphia law firm of Ballard Spahr.

George R. Smith, a former Yuengling representative who is apparently no longer with the company, has since been dropped from the litigation, according to the docket sheet in the case.

He had initially been named as a codefendant.

In its lawsuit, which is somewhat mum on particulars, the city charges that Yuengling, a popular brewery whose product is sold up and down the East Coast, owes Philadelphia nearly $4 million in back taxes, plus close to another $1 million in accrued interest and just over $1.7 million in fines.

The complaint says that the Audit Division of the city’s Revenue Department attempted to examine and audit the records of the beer company for the tax years of 2008 through 2011, but that the defendants were not cooperative.

The lawsuit claims that the tax assessments were made based solely on the accounts payable list of a Philadelphia beer distributor, since the brewery did not cooperate and supply its records as requested.

What the lawsuit doesn’t seem to explain, however, is why the city is seeking to recoup the more than $6 million in the levy formerly known as the Business Privilege Tax, when Yuengling has no physical presence in Philadelphia; all beer making operations occur in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, where the company is headquartered.

It also has a brewery in Tampa, Fla., according to its website.

The city has thus far declined to speak with the media about the particulars of the case, preferring to let it play out in the court system.

Kotzen, Yuengling’s attorney, appeared to be out of the office for the week and thus was not available for comment.

Joseph, the other plaintiffs’ attorney, didn’t return a recent email seeking comment.

David A. Casinelli, chief operating officer at Yuengling, told a Pottsville newspaper following the filing of the lawsuit back in early February that the foundation for the litigation seems to be a dispute between the company and the city with regard to who should and shouldn’t pay the Business Income and Receipts Tax.

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