Jun 17, 2011
City Hall Insults The Neighborhood
This is a post which I spend a week trying not to write. It is a story of favoritism and abuse of power. About four years ago a homeowner, in a quiet south side neighborhood, moved out and rented the house to his brother. Under Allentown regulations this property hence became a rental property, and subject to license and inspection procedures. As it turns out, these brothers are childhood friends with an Allentown inspector. The second brother, the tenant, has been disruptive in the neighborhood by every criterion relevant to code enforcement. The property became unkempt and subject of numerous police calls, including the SWAT team. All calls for relief from surrounding properties seemed to end up with the family's inspector friend, and brought no relief from the problems. Allentown has been very pro-active with problem properties. In the first eight months of 2010, 342 properties received orange tags, forcing the property to be vacated. Most tags were issued for problems significantly more minor than those occurring in the subject of this post. This past October, the bank foreclosed on the property. The tenant legally became a squatter. A neighbor's complaint resulted in another inspector discovering that the bank owned property was an unregistered rental, and he issued a 30 day to vacate tag for illegal occupancy. It appeared that finally the neighbors would get relief from the trash, noise and police calls. The childhood friend inspector intervened, and the 30 day notice was never enforced. My efforts with the inspector on behalf of the other property owners (including myself) were to no avail. I have spent the week documenting the problem up the chain of command, right to the Mayor's office. Although the property is in gross violation of code, the illegal tenant is allowed to remain. Although in the last eight months police have surrounded the property several times in complete violation of the disruptive tenant ordinance, the occupant remains. In typical City Hall fashion, they have circled the wagons around the inspector, around their own. They are now actually trying to work with the bank and make him the homeowner. The top photo is the back yard on May 9, 2011, with years worth of garbage. You will be happy to know that a city contractor has now been hired to clean the property and cut the grass, at your expense. The City's course of action is a total insult to the neighbors. I did see some inspectors today, they were walking around my property.
UPDATE: I understand that the occupant is a disabled US Veteran so that may have played into the equation. City Official June 16, 2:02pm
Mr. XXXX, I understand that he is a disabled veteran. I don't know if you have received all my emails, first to the inspector, then XXXX, then XXXX. Two years ago I had to treat his unattended green swimming pool with bleach, (because the city complaint was repressed) last year I had to paint his totally peeled porch.... He has no legal basis in that house whatsoever..... Frankly, the situation is an outrage. You may want to check the police reports. Twice police have surrounded the house in the last 8 months alone... Is this social work or code enforcement? Michael Molovinsky
p.s.. he is not physically disabled, and I don't know if his mental health issues are military related, nor is it relevant to code
enforcement. I do know that he is family friends with an inspector who has put myself and other neighbors off for years. He is the same inspector who has issued hundreds of orange tags to other properties in the same period for much less problems.
Being a disabled veteran is not the reason for this favoritism, but the excuse now being used. I have no doubt that at least some of the hundreds and hundreds of units vacated by the same inspector, also housed a few disabled veterans.