Though some of you are already aware, the City has an upcoming hearing on December 16 and 17 in its civil case against six properties in Puretz portfolio of properties here in Cincinnati: 2525 Victory Parkway, 3652 Reading Road (in N A), 1990 Westwood Northern Boulevard, 2000 Westwood Northern Boulevard, 1006-1026 Burton Avenue (NA) and 705-711 Ridgeway Avenue. During that hearing, the City has moved the Court for the appointment of a receiver for the properties, to take control of management, collect the housing assistance payments from HUD and make repairs. The hearing is the culmination of literally thousands of hours of work by city personnel (police officers, inspectors, and attorneys) as well as Legal Aid. This case is also a distinctive moment in a broader context as well. The director of HUD multifamily for the Midwest region recently commented that in his 20 year history with their organization, this has only occurred about ten times.
I bring the hearing to your attention because, as community stakeholders, many of these properties have been a source of concern to you over the years. We expect the hearing to be vigorously contested by the owners. The support of the community may be critical in demonstrating to Judge Myers that this is an extraordinary case that demands an extraordinary response. If you can attend, it would be a powerful message, demonstrating the resolve of the community to see that these properties are fixed.
The City of Cincinnati’s civil lawsuit against the owners of the Puretz portfolio properties (inclusive of 3652 Reading Road) will take place on December 16-17, 2015. It would be great if there is strong NANA representation at the hearing.
The hearing is scheduled for December 16 and 17 at 10 am in room 330 of the Hamilton County Courthouse. I hope to see many of you there.
Mark Manning, Asst. City Solicitor Law Department
We have other Chronic Nuisance properties in North Avondale but this property (3652) has been a systemic problem with violent crime and disorder for years. More importantly, as I have continually questioned, why it is that the City prefers to pursue chronic nuisance enforcement the hard way which as Mark Manning states above has cost the city “thousands of hours of work by city personnel” in pursuing a civil lawsuit against the chronic nuisance properties owner (Puretz). The easier way which would avoid costly litigation by focusing instead on the Housing Assistance Payment contract that Puretz signed with HUD which requires a minimal housing quality standard to be maintained at all times. Based on the evidence provided, clearly the condition of these properties did not meet these minimal standards. As HUD already has the authority to enforce the terms of its housing assistance payment contract with Puretz, court involvement would not be required using this approach. HUD may choose not to cooperate in this regard, but pressure could then be applied on HUD using our elected officials (e.g., Steve Chabot our congressional rep; the mayor) and the news media. This less aggressive administrative approach is ultimately less costly and more likely to result in a timely resolution than using the court. In summary, the city could have saved the thousands of hours of police, B&I, and law department time if they had just used the HAP contract violations approach first while using police and B&I reports as evidence to withhold government subsidies.
We still need a strong neighborhood representation of neighbors who are committed to making a difference. You only need to show up at the hearing so that the judge sees that North Avondale is committed to change for the better and the negligent landlords be held accountable for the neglect of their buildings and criminal activity in and around their buildings. To arrive at the hearing on time, consider the additional time you will need to go through security. Let us know if you will attend the hearing or for more information.