2037 Orleans Street

Update 3/25/2013:  This home is now in the receivership process. Baltimore Housing filed on 3/13, and the court date is in May.  Hopefully this property will be sold to a responsible property owner who will take care of it.  Many thanks to Reader Rusty for catching this one!

Property Address:  2037 Orleans Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

Property Owner: Melvin T. Russell, 3405 Periwinkle Way, Edgewood, MD 21040

City Council District and Contact:  District 13, Warren Branch

This home is owned by Melvin Russell, commanding officer of the Baltimore City Police, Eastern District Station.  Perhaps that explains why Major Russell has never been hauled into housing court for the numerous violations involving this property.  Please note the trash, and open/missing windows.

2037 Orleans Street, Front

Front door of 2037 Orleans Street

Open/missing windows at 2037 Orleans Street

Trasn and weeds in the rear of 2037 Orleans



  1. ruth

    Well, must be nice. I inherited property at the corner of Lakewood and Orleans eleven years ago. It took me three years just to clean the house out and prepare for sale which netted a real bundle owing to the lovely surroundings. The neighbors were aware this corner property was empty and used the backyard as a dumpster and also were setting trash out on non-pickup days. During this time, I was issued citations for the situation which required a hearing appearance. After explaining what was going on at the property, I was curtly told it was my responsibility to comply. ‘Nuff said. Not being a commanding officer in the PD guess other rules apply to me. Hey, Bub, I had to clean up, so MOVE IT!!!!!

  2. Paul

    In fairness to Office Russell the properties at 2029, 2031, 2033 Orleans Street look at lot like his (on google street view) and are owned by the Housing Authority. But unlike the Housing Authority Office is current on his taxes of $2400/yr to the City.

    • slumlordwatch

      Hopefully the City will fine him for the code violations…so theySyll make even more money from this property. I’m just shocked that a police officer would allow a property to remain in such a state of disrepair, especially when you consider the fact that vacant homes bring more crime to a community.

  3. Rusty Shackleford

    I wonder if it’s a conflict of interest for him to own a property in the same district that he serves. It’s my understanding that a Baltimore City police officer cannot work in the same district where he lives.

  4. Veronica Robinson

    I find it appalling that a police officer who is sworn to up hold the law and live by some code of integrity. Would have the audacity to be a slum lord. That place is filthy. How difficult is it on a police officer’s salary to hire someone to pick up trash? Which by the way I would think the Mayor would have extra restrictions and guidelines for his police officers, send you lead by example. Well you just never know what lurks underneath the clothes/uniform of a man.

  5. Dunn

    I have a difficult time accepting community leaders and government employees who use, abuse and exploit the city. Unfortunately it is common.

    • slumlordwatch

      I agree completely. I would also be interested in knowing how many other public officials own derelict property in Baltimore.

  6. Laura Reinhart

    Wow! Unbelievable how so many of us are quick to judge. I’m from East BMore and I know a little about Commander Russell. First it was his residence while he was assigned to the Eastern District years ago (was and still allowed). 2nd the home was placed into HUD program where the tenants completely destroyed before being legally put out, a year plus long process. Those same tenants continued to squat and alegedly set the place on fire. His insurance co dropped him after giving him pennies for repairs. 3rd he has been fined several times. As soon as he has yard cleaned more dumping occurs. 4th he works at an insane pace to make communities better while supported by his family. East BMore loves Commander Russell who is also a great man of God. So before you put your mouth on this man of God get your facts straight.

    • slumlordwatch

      I’m confused as to why you’re bringing religion into this. Leaving a property in this condition is against the law, plain and simple.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      OK Laura, answer these questions:

      1) Isn’t it against department rules for a member of the BPD to own a property in the district in which he works? The last time I checked, this block of Orleans was located in the Eastern District.

      2) If he’s such a dedicated servant, then why doesn’t he show it by staying in Baltimore? Don’t give me some BS about safety- I’m sure that a house that is occupied by a high ranking police official would be a major crime deterrent. And don’t give me some BS about how some Section 8 tenants screwed him over. He contributed to the crime problem by renting to some lowlifes without conducting the appropriate background checks.

      3) Don’t you find it unethical for a so-called “man of God” to be driving a police vehicle, financed on the backs of Baltimore City taxpayers, 50 miles roundtrip each day between the Eastern District HQ and Edgewood?

  7. Neal

    It is not illegal or against policy for officers to live in the district in which they work.

    The pictures you have posted are old and the property has been cleaned and boarded up.

    All taxes are paid.

    • slumlordwatch

      Sorry, but the photos were taken on the 17th and they were posted on the 20th….so the photos aren’t “old”.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Neal, I’ll be happy to email the photos that I took along with the date stamp. Stop being a lying liar.

  8. Allan

    It is far more sad that this kind of discussion happens “about” someone than “with” someone. Perhaps far more would be accomplished if we as citizens stop gossiping about public officials and actually contacted them directly and talked with them to hear their story before jumping to conclusions. I too have a rental property and have had tenants not only work on destroying it but also run out on rent payments leaving me with thousands of dollars of losses all the while I am paying a mortgage on the property, the taxes, and the upkeep, and then also having to reinvest in repairs left by the wayward tenants. I did my due diligence to check on background, ability to pay, etc. The fact is some folk just don’t hold up their end of a contract. Then the homeowner comes out looking like they don’t care about the neighborhood or property when they are out of money.
    I would encourage whoever started this blog to simply address the officer in question with a respectful inquiry. You may be surprised at the truths you learn.
    Jesus was the one who said – if your brother offends you go to them and work it out, if that doesn’t work take someone in with you and try again. I simply ask those with comments here, “Have you approached the officer in question?” “What was the story?”

  9. sandra coles

    First, this property is not technically a slum, as it is unoccupied. Therefore, its owner, Melvin Russell, cannot be labeled as a “slumlord.”

    Second, this vacant property is just one of thousands of vacant properties in Baltimore City. In that case, shouldn’t all of our vacant properties be under this “slumlord watch?”

    Most importantly, the owner of this property, Police Major Melvin Russell, has gone above and beyond his call of duty to bring safety, unity, and community revitalization to the very neighborhoods that have been plagued with the problems of vacant properties. My prayer is that God continues to give Major Russell the strength to mentor and empower the people of distressed neighborhoods in Baltimore City to take control of their neighborhoods and deter illegal activity.

    • slumlordwatch

      Slums don’t have to be occupied, and I would love to get every vacant property on the blog. Are you volunteering your time and energy to help with that

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    I see that Major Russell’s family members are out in full force shilling for him on this blog.

    • slumlordwatch

      That seems to happen a lot, when people are caught doing the wrong thing. Remember all the comments after I posted about the woman who shot her boyfriend at the downtown hotel?

  11. Dr C.R. Daniels

    It’s funny how we have “Men of God” whom commit horrible transgressions and many, including their members forgive them and all is forgotten. Before you condemn this true Man of God, know the facts! Also, read your bible; “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” John 8:7

    • slumlordwatch

      Funny how people will take advantage of that “forgiveness” and keep doing the same things over and over again. No, this guy needs to clean up his blighted property — would Jesus let a home fall into disrepair? Really?

      I can’t believe how often the “Christian” card gets pulled here — face it, the guy is a slumlord. Get over it.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      “Doctor” Clarence R. Daniels, get over yourself! Receiving a “Master of Divinity” degree from some diploma mill called Family Bible Seminary doesn’t make you a doctor.

      According to MD Casesearch, you must have had to ask for forgiveness several times for such indiscretions as breaking and entering, destruction of property, adultery (as evidenced by your paternity case), and divorce (which is a sin according to most churches). I consider myself an atheist, yet I manage to stay out of trouble. Hmmm.

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  13. Douglas

    I find this all very interesting…I have not seen anything recently posted about properties that have sat in the community, vacant and unkept, but are reportedly owned by huge campaign contributers to various elected officials and other well connected non-profit organizations in the area. Funny how things work in Baltimore.

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      Actually I have done a few posts about campaign contributors and nonprofits. I don’t intentionally seek out homes that could be owned by ‘X’ or ‘Y’, but when I come across them, they certainly get mentioned. If you have any in mind, please let me know — I’m more than happy to write about them.

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