Re-elect Judge Kim Coles-Hoots
Claims made to discredit Magisterial District Judge Kim Coles-Hoots are distortions of fact and law. Candidate Marc Taiani running against Judge Coles-Hoots knows the facts and chooses to distort them. It’s not clear whether he knows the law but prefers his own rules or whether he does not know the law.
The flyer distributed in the Regent Square neighborhood of Wilkinsburg on Friday May 12 reprints falsehoods that have been corrected in the past.
Endorsement by Allegheny County Democratic Committee– yes, Judge Coles-Hoots is the endorsed candidate of the County Democratic Committee. Because the magisterial district includes Edgewood and Wilkinsburg, it is the County Democratic Committee that votes to endorse, not either municipal Democratic Committee. Of course no candidate is endorsed by any Borough. Noone has claimed endorsement by a Borough. The only lie is Marc Taiani’s nutso statement. Marc Taiani asked the chair of the Wilkinsburg Democratic Committee to give him the opportunity to be endorsed by that committee and was informed that no municipal committee would vote on a vote that belongs to the county committee.
Dismissing charges, setting bond– A magisterial district judge has to follow the law and court guidelines. Some people think “I know bad guys when I see them, and I will use my office to go after them.” That is not our legal system.
Previously used her court as campaign headquarters– This was an egregious case of entrapment. A person working for Marc Taiani when he ran for MDJ six years ago asked to pick up some Judge Hoots campaign material at the court office. There was no campaign office, and material was distributed from Judge Hoots’ home. The person who said she did want some flyers said she couldn’t walk so far. To accommodate her request, some flyers were brought to the court address. She reported this as an ethics violation. This happened ONCE before someone learned to expect dirty tricks in Wilkinsburg politics.
Delinquent property taxes– People who buy property that did have delinquent taxes know that the records aren’t marked satisfied without proof, and it’s not uncommon for a lien marked satisfied to lose the record of satisfaction by old data writing over newer data or by some other glitch in the system. Marc Taiani is familiar with reports issued by the delinquent tax collector and knows that a lien that appears as not satisfied in the Department of Court Records but is not in the collection list is probably a mistake. Had unpaid taxes and has unpaid taxes– there is a difference.
In this primary election, the claim is “lied … by failing to disclose owing … unpaid School Property Taxes…” The citation is GD-16-020085. The property that has delinquent taxes is not owned by Judge Coles-Hoots “but a published obituary [for the owner] lists seven known heirs” one of the seven being Kim Coles-Hoots. There is no other present connection between Judge Coles-Hoots and the property. Attorney Marc Taiani knows that family members named in an obituary are under no legal or ethical obligation to clear real estate tax delinquencies on their deceased relatives’ properties. Wilkinsburg borough council member Marc Taiani should be addressing the problem of borough real estate tax and MSF delinquency owed by the property since 2006. Most legal actions filed in the name of the borough (and school district) go nowhere, and tax delinquencies remain on the books for years. This is one of many such properties with longstanding tax delinquency. There is a solution. The system works if it’s used. Tax sale has been used much more effectively by other municipalities than by Wilkinsburg.
Has no law degree– Marc Taiani has been informed more than once that fewer than half the elected magisterial district justices have law degrees. People elected to this job are not expected to be attorneys. An attorney who is elected may opt out of the specific training for MDJ.
I have brought landlord complaints against tenants to this MDJ court. All parties to cases for the day are in the courtroom together, so a person can learn the rules by second hand experience. Judge Coles-Hoots is fair, attentive and has judicial demeanor. I have often thought there would be more animosity between owners and tenants if not for her role. Over a period of many years, everyone I have spoken to who knows Judge Coles-Hoots has a good opinion of her. (It’s troubling that people who have no direct experience believe lies about her MDJ decisions.)
Respected by her peers— This spring, an attorney seeking endorsement for Common Pleas Court departed from the speech about her own candidacy to praise Judge Coles-Hoots, saying she speaks to young people in groups to say criminal conduct is no joke, and counsels first-time offenders to make better choices. On another occasion this spring, a woman who saw Judge Coles-Hoots name volunteered, “My husband is district justice in … and he thinks the world of her.”
Vote to re-elect Judge Kim Coles-Hoots on May 16 and in the general election in November.
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