Lots of good stuff in the news this week!
In the Baltimore Sun, Luke Broadwater reports the Housing Authority of Baltimore City has disbanded and laid off its Housing Security Unit. These were the folks responsible for “investigating illegal occupants, nuisance activity, unsecured vacants and vandalism”, according to the article.
Developer Mark Manzo wanted to demolish part of a historic 19th Century church to make way for a parking lot for his new townhouses in Butcher’s Hill. According to this Baltimore Brew article, the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) denied the petition, as several neighbors, and District 13 Councilman Warren Branch protested the effort. One neighbor called the townhouses “boring”.
Vacants are everywhere, including Japan, says Business Insider.
Since you can’t talk about vacants without mentioning Detroit… S&P has downgraded Wayne County’s credit rating to two steps above “junk”, says Bloomberg. That’s gotta hurt.
You can’t really talk about vacants without mentioning Baltimore or HUD, either — and the Baltimore Sun reports that HUD is shrinking its Baltimore office staff by one-third, as part of a consolidation effort.
In the UK, investors and landlords are being targeted by mortgage scammers.
Speaking of the UK, Britain’s biggest mortgage fraudster was given an extra four years in prison for conspiring to defraud two banks of £61 million, according to the London Evening Standard. One of his previous scams was selling bogus manorial titles to Americans.
Dozens of homes in New Orleans were moved and then left to deteriorate, at taxpayer expense, according to WWLVT Channel 4. The nonprofit in charge of renovating the homes, Builders of Hope, is no longer involved in the project. If you recall, the Baltimore Sun reported back in 2012, the same nonprofit was supposed to partner with Ray Lewis to renovate 500 homes in Baltimore, and that seems to have gone nowhere.
You know life has taken a bad turn when the feds are busting down the door, looking for your 40+ year old son who’s living in your basement. Van Smith from the City Paper reports on former deputy mayor and state delegate Salima Siler Marriott’s latest woes.
And speaking of the feds — Philadelphia’s notorious “Slumlord Millionaire” Robert Coyle is on his way to the pokey after defrauding a couple of banks. Nevermind the fact that he’s allegedly swindled people in his “rent to own” schemes, and forced citizens in the Kensington neighborhood of Philly to live next to his blighted nasty homes…oh, and how about the fact that he treated his tenants worse than animals and forced some of them to live without plumbing or heat? But hey — he defrauded a couple of banks, so off to the clink he goes!
Because sometimes I like to save the best for last…
The man who raped a 13 year old girl in a vacant home (owned at the time by disbarred attorney John Reiff) has been sentenced to four life sentences. Count ‘em — 1-2-3-4. I would say justice has been served quite nicely — I hope he also has to pay for the counseling the survivor will need to be able to move past such a horror.