June27, 2017


Important Vote to Stop Sale of Property to Islamic Group


Concerns have been raised recently about the sale of a former Youth Detention Center (YDC ) on 145 acres  in Shenango Township, Lawrence County to an Islamic group our of New Jersey.  From their website:  “Hira Educational Services of North America (HESNA) is a consulting firm based in North America. We offer our services to the Islamic Schools who are not getting the educational ads from the Government.”

Some of the concerns are as follows:

  • The highest bidder, Hira, has not communicated its intention for the property, even after repeated attempts by the area State Reps/ State Senator and local elected officials.
  • Hira has lost its ability to do business in New Jersey after failing to file necessary paperwork for two consecutive years.
  • Questions have been raised about the actual bidding process i.e. it was only advertised in a newspaper in a neighboring county that did not reach into the impacted area; no locals even knew bids had been opened on the property until after Hira’s bid had been accepted by the state on June 1st. The State Reps and State Senator found out by reading it in the newspaper!

State Reps Aaron Bernstine and Chris Sainato and Senator Elder Vogel have sent two letters of  concern to try to get to the bottom of the matter. The first directly to Governor Wolf and the second to Denise Smyler, General Counsel for the Commonwealth of PA, with a cc to Governor Wolf, Curt Topper (Department of General Services Secretary) and Attorney General Josh Shapiro.   The second letter was also signed by the Lawrence County Commissioners and the Township Supervisors.  A two and a half hour meeting last Friday night to let their constituents know just what they knew/didn’t know.

Action Steps

Yesterday Senator Elder Vogel introduced a joint resolution — SR 154 — disapproving the portion of a 2013 law that provided for the sale of the Shenango Township Property.

The vote is expected today!  Contact your State Senator and ask him or her to vote ‘yea.’

Take action here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email