(SPRINGFIELD, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that a lawsuit has been filed against an out-of state landlord whose homes fell into disrepair and were subsequently demolished by the City of Springfield. The lawsuit, filed jointly by the Attorney General and City of Springfield, seeks to reimburse the City for costs associated with three properties which were recently demolished.
“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has designated significant resources from the National Mortgage Settlement to combat the blight of abandoned houses across Ohio,” said Attorney General DeWine. “However, not all abandoned properties are the result of the housing crisis or banking practices. There are occasionally egregious cases where negligent property owners have contributed to this problem and should be held liable for these demolition costs, instead of their neighbors and fellow taxpayers. This filing represents three such egregious cases.”
A lawsuit was filed in Clark County Court of Common Pleas against Johncar Investments of Lawndale, California, who owned three properties at 1321-1323 Mound Street, 640 West Euclid Avenue, and 21-23 East Grand Avenue. Despite being cited for code violations for several years, the owner took no action to address the violations or demolish the properties. After receiving notice that the properties needed to be demolished, the owners took no further action, and the responsibility for the demolitions ultimately fell on the City of Springfield.
The lawsuits seek to collect the debt incurred by the City of Springfield in demolishing the three properties, which totals more than $13,000 in demolition costs. The lawsuit also seeks interest and costs associated with the lawsuit.
Attorney General DeWine has worked with local jurisdictions on collecting demolition costs from negligent property owners as a supplement to the Demolition Grant Program created in February 2012. The Demolition Grant Program helps stabilize and improve communities by removing blighted and abandoned homes with funds from the national mortgage settlement reached earlier this year. While an exact total of abandoned homes is not available, conservative estimates place the number of vacant and abandoned properties in Ohio in need of immediate demolition at 100,000.
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840