(DAYTON, Ohio) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan today announced that they have filed a lawsuit against a property owner whose property was damaged by fire in March of 2010 and subsequently demolished by the city of Dayton. The lawsuit seeks to reimburse the city for costs associated with the property on 1509-1511 Viola Avenue.
"The Ohio Attorney General's Office has designated significant resources from the National Mortgage Settlement to combat the blight of abandoned houses across Ohio," said Attorney General DeWine. "However, not all abandoned properties are the result of the housing crisis or banking practices. There are occasionally egregious cases where negligent property owners have contributed to this problem and should be held liable for the demolition costs, instead of their neighbors and fellow taxpayers. We want to help cities recoup these costs and will help them go after these negligent owners in any way we can."
"The fight against abandoned and blighted houses is one of the biggest concerns for our citizens and one of our highest priorities as a local government," Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan said. "Empty homes damage the vitality of an entire neighborhood and drain precious tax dollars through demolition costs. We think this aggressive new legal action will prompt other negligent property owners to avoid the same fate by fixing or removing these eyesores before we come after them. Until now there was little cities could do to coerce derelict property owners into doing the right thing. This adds a new dimension to make that happen, or you'll pay the price in the end."
A lawsuit was filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court against Wright Homebuyers, LLC who owned the property at 1509-1511 Viola Avenue in Dayton. After a fire in March of 2010, and receiving notices that the property needed to be demolished, the owner took no further action, and the responsibility for the demolition ultimately fell on the City of Dayton.The lawsuit seeks to collect the costs incurred by the City of Dayton in demolishing the property, totaling more than $16,000.
Attorney General DeWine has worked with City of Dayton and Montgomery County officials since he created the Demolition Grant Program in February. The Demolition Grant Program helps stabilize and improve communities by removing blighted and abandoned homes with funds from the national mortgage settlement reached earlier this year. While an exact total of abandoned homes is not available, conservative estimates place the number of vacant and abandoned properties in Ohio in need of immediate demolition at 100,000.
Lisa Peterson Hackley -- 614-466-3840
City of Dayton, Tom Biedenharn -- 937-333-3616