(WARREN, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Warren Mayor William D. Franklin, and Warren Law Director Greg Hicks today announced that a lawsuit has been filed against the owners of the former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital to require demolition of the property and reimburse the city for associated costs. The lawsuit was filed by the Ohio Attorney General on behalf of the City of Warren and Warren Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Pinti.
“The refusal of the owners of the former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital to maintain their property and demolish it after it had been condemned exhibits egregious neglect which must be addressed,” said Attorney General DeWine. “The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has assisted cities in collecting the costs of demolition from grossly negligent property owners, and I am pleased to partner with the City of Warren to help combat blight and make this neighborhood safer for Warren families.”
"On the behalf of the City of Warren, I'd like to thank Attorney General DeWine and his office for collaborating with the Warren City Offices in helping to eliminate a long standing, potentially dangerous structure on the City's northwest side,” said Warren Mayor William D. Franklin. “Once again, I'd like to thank Attorney General DeWine and the City welcomes the partnership."
"On behalf of the City of Warren Law Department, I wish to thank Attorney General DeWine and his staff for their help and assistance in this matter,” said Warren Law Director Greg Hicks. “The joint inter-agency cooperation in issues such as this help us to exponentially increase our resources for the betterment of our communities."
A lawsuit was filed in Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas against Euro-American Finance Network, Inc. and Ljubica Stefanovic, all of Leesburg, Florida, who own the former hospital property at 1300 and 1307 Tod Avenue. The suit also named Slavoljub Stefanovic, President of Euro-American and Ljubica's husband, aalso of Leesburg, as a denedant. Despite being cited for code violations, the owner took no action to address the violations or demolish the property. After receiving notice that the property needed to be demolished, the owners took no further action, which necessitated the need for today’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks to order the demolition of the property, declare then defendants responsible for costs incurred by the City of Warren in demolishing the property, and reimburse the City of Warren for costs associated with the previous demolition of a separate structure and providing public safety services at the property. The lawsuit also seeks interest and costs associated with the lawsuit.
Attorney General DeWine has worked with local jurisdictions on collecting demolition costs from negligent property owners as a supplement to the Demolition Grant Program created in February 2012. The Demolition Grant Program helps stabilize and improve communities by removing blighted and abandoned homes with funds from the National Mortgage Settlement. 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.
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840