A Broken System: One Neighbor’s Ongoing Saga

I thought it would be interesting, and potentially helpful, to post the ongoing saga one person has endured while trying to report a negligent property owner and the city’s lack of response to a citizen.

Fall 2011

Vacant was reported through the City’s 311 system, as a piece of the cornice was coming off and could be hazardous to anyone walking below. Baltimore Housing had previously issued a vacant notice for the property (254531A), so it’s not a stretch to assume they’re aware of the property’s poor condition.

December 2011

Emails to Carl Stokes (City Councilman for District 12) go unanswered.  Emails to sent to the Charles Village Civic Association and Greater Homewood Community Corporation were answered.  The building was condemned, and the hanging piece of cornice has been removed.

Mid-February 2012 to Present

After many emails back and forth between the neighbor and various agencies and neighborhood associations, 6 months later the home is still in the same blighted condition with open windows and rear door, there are no citations or violation notices against the property owner, and no response from Baltimore Housing.

The city has a “slumlord court”, Baltimore Housing has inspectors and attorneys — what we can’t understand is how few negligent property owners are actually prosecuted and/or fined.  So many of them seem to get away with leaving their homes in this kind of condition — with no repercussions.

Please note — the owner of this property is a large-scale city slumlord and a marketing professor at Towson Universty.  Also note, this property is on the route for many children who walk to the Barclay School.

Property Address:  345 E 28th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Property Owner:  CE Realty, LLC, 3210 Labyrinth Road, Baltimore, MD 21218

Resident Agent for CE Realty:  Ephraim Weingarten, same address

City Council District and Representative:  District 12, Carl Stokes

345 E 28th Street

345 E 28th Street, side view

10 comments

  1. Melissa

    One correction: The CVCA AND GHCC have been responsive re: process. I have heard exactly zero from Stokes’ office.

    The responsiveness is terrific. But it doesn’t change the fact that this house is still vacant and still rotting. Pigeons are roosting in the rotted porch overhang and there bird droppings all over the porch and steps.

    Everyday kids on their way to Barclay walk past this house. And many others too

  2. Jon

    Get a lawyer and take the owner to court as a private nuisance. Get them to write a cease and desist letter.. The Charles village association could also work the the community law association to file suit…..

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      I do think community associations need to be more proactive about identifying nuisance properties, and working with the Community Law Center about filing lawsuits.

  3. Melissa

    I don’t think filing suit will make that much difference. If you do a search of the judiciary records, there are FIVE pages of cases related to CE Realty and two pages related to Mr Weingarten.

    Certainly he is no stranger to legal enforcement: http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/researchcenter/ReportsandPublications/Pages/researchcenter/publications/general/emde/vol2no4/enforcementcompliance.aspx

    What I’d like to do is find someway to hit him where it might really hurt. A lien against his house, or any licensure. But that’s tough since the realty corp owns the house, not him personally.

    Also, there was a bill (http://mlis.state.md.us/2012rs/billfile/hb0365.htm) on nuisance abatement this session but it looks like amendments got things held up.

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      Gotcha — well…here’s an idea. When I started this blog, maybe 6 months in, I sent emails to the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors and the Maryland DLLR about Stanley Rochkind, another large-scale Baltimore slumlord. I find it appalling that someone like Mr. Rochkind (and also Ephraim Weingarten) can maintain active real estate licenses while owning decrepit lead-filled homes. Since the 1980s, Mr. Rochkind has been a defendant in over 500 lawsuits — mostly relating to lead paint. Ephraim Weingarten was fined by MDE back in…I believe 2006…for maintaining 93 lead-filled homes. Yet they’re still able to buy and sell real estate? I have to wonder where the ethics code fits into this. A letter-writing campaign might work — what do you think?

      • Melissa

        I’ll draft something and send to both. Will let you know if I get a response.

      • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

        Please do let me know — if this is a way we can make slumlords stand up and take notice, I’m all for it.

      • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

        Please do let me know — if this is a way we can make slumlords stand up and take notice, I’m all for it!

  4. Rusty Shackleford

    If you really want to embarrass Mr. Weingarten, you should contact the dean of Towson University’s School of Business and Economics and ask her how she feels about employing someone who rents slum properties just a few miles down the road from campus and also allows his tenants to be exposed to lead paint.

    Here’s the link to the dean’s office: http://www.towson.edu/cbe/contact/

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      Interesting idea — I’m sure they have no idea about his questionable business ethics.

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