Category: Your Tax Dollars At Work

BCFD Was Here: 1523 Hazel Street

Property Address: 1523 Hazel Street, Baltimore, MD 21226

Property Owner: ETS Maryland, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, #300, Baltimore, MD 21224 (charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing)

ETS Maryland is one of the tax-sale foreclosure bidders that was controlled by former attorneys Anthony DeLaurentis, John Reiff, and John Reid before they were caught bid-rigging at municipal auctions and disbarred as a result. We’ve detailed their property purchases and noncompliance with the law several times. An order foreclosing the right of redemption on this property was issued in 2011 (Circuit Court case 24C10001905). In the four years since, nothing has been done to it, and no permits are on file. The city fire department has declared the house too unsafe for firefighters to enter, and have placed a red X placard on the front.

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

State Senator (District 46): William C. Ferguson IV

State Delegates (District 46): Luke H. Clippinger, Peter A. Hammen, Brooke E. Lierman

1523 Hazel Street

1523 Hazel Street

 

2401 Annapolis Road

Property Address: 2401 Annapolis Road, Baltimore, MD 21230

Property Owner: Mayor and City Council, 417 E Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

Property Receiver: One House At A Time, 3553 Chestnut Avenue # B, Baltimore, MD 21211

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

State Senator (District 46): William C. Ferguson IV

State Delegates (District 46): Luke H. Clippinger, Peter A. Hammen, Brooke E. Lierman

Another property that’s been in receivership for some time.

2401 Annapolis Road

2401 Annapolis Road

2401 Annapolis Road, rear

2401 Annapolis Road, rear

 

 

2231 and 2233 Sidney Avenue

Property Address:  2231 and 2233 Sidney Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230

Property Owner (both properties): Voss Design Group, Inc., 7011 Kenleigh Road, Baltimore, MD 21212

Resident Agent for Voss Design Group, Inc.: J Brian Voss, 1636 E Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21231

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

State Senator (District 46): William C. Ferguson IV

State Delegates (District 46): Luke H. Clippinger, Peter A. Hammen, Brooke E. Lierman

2231 and 2233 Sidney Avenue

2231 and 2233 Sidney Avenue

These homes were purchased in 2012 through a City receivership auction, yet nothing has been improved, and there are no current permits on file for either property.

A Small Victory: 1101 Nanticoke Street

Finally, after four years of court hearings and inaction on the part of the former owner, 1101 Nanticoke Street has a new owner — Karen Gross, a Baltimore realtor. Hopefully she will do something with the home and it can be sold, alleviating the nightmare the former owners caused.

City of Chicago Posts Data on Problem Property Owners. Hey, So Do We!

Fantastic news, if you’re a tenant in Chicago — you now have the ability to see where the problem owners are, so you can avoid them. It’s like having your own Slumlordwatch, only this is sanctioned and recognized by the city.

What’s really interesting about Chicago’s ordinance is that it somewhat echoes one of the rules Vacants to Value started with — owners who were not in compliance with existing properties would be unable to purchase more, through the city, until their other properties were brought to code. From Chicago’s website:

Building owners who appear on the list will not be able to obtain business licenses, receive zoning changes, acquire city land or receive financial assistance like Tax Increment Financing (TIF), or obtain building permits not related to addressing their violations.

Unfortunately, Baltimore has all but disregarded its own rules, allowing people who are not in compliance to purchase more homes through their V2V auctions. For example, John Reiff. He’s been able to purchase 10 homes under his own name, and four under his shell company “Land Research Associates” since 2010. He also purchases homes at city tax sales, despite being disbarred for bid-rigging at other municipal auctions, and the deeds aren’t being recorded, shielding him and others who do the same from accountability. A sampling of Reiff’s tax sale purchases:

  • 1642 Lochwood Road, right of redemption foreclosed in 2012, yet the home is still receiving the homestead tax credit, and ownership information has not been updated.
  • 3037 Walbrook Avenue, purchased with another Reiff-affiliated shell company, ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2012, ownership information is not updated.
  • 1019 Darley Avenue, purchased by ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2012, ownership information is not updated.
  • 1677 Darley Avenue, purchased by ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2011, ownership information is not updated.
  • 505 S Bentalou Street, purchased by ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2011, ownership information is not updated.
  • 1805 E Federal Street, purchased by ETS Maryland. Right of redemption was foreclosed in 2012, ownership information is not updated.

What’s really shocking is that while ETS Maryland was purchasing city-owned properties, the city was filing receivership cases on ETS — 25 total open receivership cases, in fact, going back to 2008.

Then we come to Stanley Rochkind — a landlord who has been the defendant in hundreds of lead paint lawsuits and other housing violations, dating back to at least the 1980s. Not to mention, he owns dozens of blighted dilapidated homes under various business trusts, LLCs, and other shell companies. I was able to find 150 of them, though I believe there are many more.

Citizens need to be aware of who they’re doing business with — a home, even for a renter, is an investment. For most people, it’s their single-largest monthly payment. Many kudos to the City of Chicago for recognizing that taxpayers need to have all the tools possible to make good choices — and we’ll keep writing about Baltimore’s bad landlords until we’ve written about all of them.  Because for every John Reiff and Stanley Rochkind out there who don’t play by the rules, there are dozens of people who want to be responsible property owners, and we need to pave the way for them — a good first step would be putting the bad ones out of business.

 

 

Behind on Your Water Bill or Property Taxes?

Don’t let your home go to auction — there is legal help available!

The Pro-Bono Resource Center of Maryland, along with MVLS, is holding three community workshops where lawyers will discuss both foreclosure and tax sales. If you’re behind on your water bill or property tax, don’t wait until it’s too late — find out what your rights are, and what options you have.  There are three sessions:

  • March 21, 2015, 9 AM to 3 PM
  • Poly-Western High School, 1400 W Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21209
  • April 9, 2015, 10 AM to 2 PM
  • Urban Business Center, 1200 W Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21223
  • April 15, 2015, 3 PM to 7 PM
  • Enoch Pratt Library, Southeast Anchor Branch, 3601 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224

For more information, and to register for the workshops, please call 443-703-3052.

City Owned Blight: 4202 Audrey Avenue

Property Address: 4202 Audrey Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21225

Property Owner: Mayor and City Council, 417 E Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

State Senator (District 46): William C. Ferguson IV

State Delegates (District 46): Luke H. Clippinger, Peter A. Hammen, Brooke E. Lierman

Thanks to Reader MC for the photo — according to her, the home has been vacant for 10+ years. Time to get this home back into circulation!

4202 Audrey Avenue

4202 Audrey Avenue