Slumlord Extradition, Joy Drati...

I first started covering the Joy Drati case rather late in the game this past March. He bounced from Buffalo, on a reduced bail that was secured by a property bond no less, and seems like he's been hiding out in San Francisco recently, according to this San Fransisco Examiner story. One local community activist told me this evening that the extradtion of Drati back to Buffalo sets a new high water mark for Judge Nowak in Buffalo City Housing Court. "It's a warning," she said.

Here's a list of current Drati property in the City of Buffalo. 27 at last count. They are all titled under JDMAX Homes, LLC.

I spoke with Michele Johnson this afternoon. You'll remember that she's the Housing Court Liaison for Broadway/Fillmore. She repeated the sentiment of the one housing activist that praised Judge Nowak's efforts in pursuing this extradition. From what I've learned about this for an extradtion to proceed it requires the support of two governors. So kudos to the Terminator and our very own Pataki in helping to get the job done.

There is another Fugitive from Judge Nowak's Housing Court living in Redwood City, CA where Drati was living. Here's the story. Last time I checked, Hamilton and Lydia Woods are still fugitives and haven't paid a penny yet for the demolition of their house at 242 Koons Avenue. Perphaps a friendly reminder here on the Redwood City, CA portion of Craigslist is in order.

Here's the Lexis Nexis search that takes us back through the Buffalo News stories about Joy Drati's drama in Housing Court. Here. It unfolds on September 9, 2004 with the condemnation of four Drati buildings on the City's west side.

Armed with a battering ram, a strong police presence and a court order, Buffalo housing inspection officials took on an accused slumlord Wednesday by forcing tenants from four of his West Side properties.
The presence of West Nile virus in stagnant basement water, an infestation of cockroaches and rats, rotting floors and broken plumbing prompted City Housing Court Judge Henry Nowak to order the immediate removal of residents from apartments in the buildings at West Avenue and Maryland Street.
More than a dozen tenants found themselves out on the street and temporarily homeless on a gray, rainy Wednesday as police went from door to door enforcing Nowak's "order to vacate" the 21/2-story, brick and wood structures that are carved into 32 tiny dwellings owned by J.D. Max Homes of San Pablo, Calif. "To put us out like this is not fair. We didn't get a warning. I've got two children. I think it's crazy," said Desiree Ford, who pays $250 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. "It's not up to par here, but it is livable."
Assistant Corporation Counsel Peter J. Savage III disagreed.

In October, expressing his relentless optimism for getting things done, west side "actionist" Harvey Garrett told a Buffalo News reporter:

"I just want the properties fixed," said Harvey Garrett, the West Side Community Collaborative's co-coordinator on crime and safety.

Worst case scenerio, Drati gets jail time and 27 properties come down. At the rate of 10K/demolition that's a cool quarter million we are going to fork over to a demo contractor to clean up this mess. That's less than half the estimated cost of demolishing the Transfiguration Church.

Let's hope that Judge Nowak places Housing Court fugitive Pauline Nowak (no relation) extradition on his list of problem properties!

Let's not forget the other grab this year in Housing Court. Fugitive and notorius Venere Hutchinson and his wife Dana Upcher were picked up in Tenesee by a former classmate, now state trooper. I covered that here (with property descriptions) and a follow-up here.

Mike Calanan, Marilyn Rogers, Dick Kern and the tireless Michele Johnson provided additional background on this post. Their commitment to making this City a better place to live is wildly inspirational. Thanks.

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