"Fugitive & Notorious"...Update
On Monday, Buffalo City Court Housing Judge Henry Nowak slapped "fugitive & notorius" slum-lord Venere Hutchinson and his wife Dana Upcher with a series of fines totalling $79,000. I first mentioned this case
, last month when the two were caught by a former class-mate, Andy Ratcliff, now a state trooper in Cleveland, TN during a routine traffic stop.
The Buffalo News
Two former Buffalo landlords were fined more than $79,000 on Monday and told that they face trial next month on further city housing and health code violations at their former city properties. Venere Hutchinson, 29, and his wife, Dana, 33, who were once cited as among the city's worst slumlords, received the sentence in Housing Court from Judge Henry J. Nowak. The judge told the couple that unless they pay their fines in the next 30 days, they face jail terms. Read full story.
Venere Hutchinson - "Fugitive & Notorius"
click to enlarge 630 High Street photos
Let's assume that the fines go un-paid and the duo opts for additional jail time on top of a very likely federal sentence for mortgage fraud. The city will most obviously still be stuck with demolition costs relating to a number of their properties. The unanswered questions in this case linger just beneath the surface and bump into some un-comfortable territory regarding HUD's role in the sale of 40 properties that this duo purchased and re-mortgaged. Let's see if the Buffalo News
will investigate this...where is Dick Kern when you need him...
The largest of these properties is the building that sits at the end of High Street at the intersection of Genesee Street. (Yes High & Genesee intersect. It's part of the old Buffalo street plan that was decimated by the "scar" aka as the 33 that cuts the city in half.) 630 High Street is a significant four story structure and sits in an important place along side a number of other buildings occupying this portion of Genesee Street. Provided that the building is still in stable structural condition, an adaptive re-use plan should be adopted for this location.
Let's be careful. Last time this sort of idea was explored as part of a "Housing Court" settlement, Scott Witzig from Houston TX was forced to give up his ownership interest in the old German Roman Catholic Orphan Home
on Dodge Street. He turned it over to the Erie County CAO
as part of a massive settlement with the City of Buffalo.
And for the past two years it would appear that they haven't spent a penny on the place. Will someone please tell Nathan Hare, Executive Director of the Erie County CAO
, to please buy a lawn mower and begin taking possesion of this place. If you are as disgusted with the complete lack of attention this former orphange is receiving as many people are, please call Nathan Hare. He can be reached at 716-881-5150. These pictures were taken last week.
click to enlarge Dodge Street photos
In other words the non-profit entity that ends up getting 630 High Street, should be viable and ready to hit the ground running with an adaptive re-use plan.