CODE ENFORCEMENT AMNESTY PLAN Toledo weighs deals on nuisance work

The vast majority of people who owe the city of Toledo money for razing nuisance buildings, cutting grass and weeds, or clearing away debris never pay up.

Over the past two years, the city has collected just $35,000 out of $4.1 million billed to current and former property owners.

Most recently, the city knocked down a massive, 35-unit, brick building at 2640 Monroe St. after more than four years of court battles with owner Omar Sadin.

The $43,000 cost to demolish the building will be billed to Mr. Sadin, but even city officials aren't expecting a timely check.

So the city could soon offer a deal for anyone with a delinquent invoice for demolition or cleaning up nuisance property.

Toledo City Council this week will review a Finkbeiner administration proposal for a new "code enforcement amnesty program," said Kattie Bond, the city's director of neighborhoods.

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080609/NEWS16/806090341

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My private theory is that the city knows that it's billing quite a few people in the property business, and as such, they are biting the hand that feeds their "economic development" mythology. In effect, they are annoying people they want to support, much to the misunderstanding of the general public.

You'd think a $43K invoice for a proven bill would be easy to pursue in court. What's Sadin's lawyer going to say? That the building wasn't a nuisance? That the city didn't knock it down? That the city has no rights at all? The city is holding all the cards. So, what's the reluctance to go to court, get a judgment, and then seize $43K of Sadin's assets?

As I said, I believe that that doesn't happen since the city is more afraid of driving away property goofs like Sadin than it is of not collecting on what's now over $4M in revenue. And from the city's perspective, Toledoans can just be taxed and fee'd to cover any shortfall, so why work at it anyway?

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