Friday, September 19, 2008

Things go from bad to weird

We all know just how bad the mayor's bulldozer addiction has become, but this is getting weird:
Wade Verges says he's the largest commercial property owner in New Orleans East and was shocked when he got a letter about this building on Crowder Boulevard one of his most successful properties since Katrina.

“It is incompetence, negligence or harassment,” said Verges.

Earlier this week, Verges received a letter from the City of New Orleans, citing his commercial property at the corner of Crowder and Lake Forest Boulevard for being a public nuisance and blighted, fining him $325 dollars and notifying him that his property was eligible for demolition.

Verges said that was the first time that he heard about this from the city, and that the city had never tried to contact him before.

But the citation says he was charted with the violation in May, and the city labeled the property blighted after an administrative hearing in mid-August.
“The entire ground floor is occupied. We have two realtors in the building, our offices, we are developers,” he said.

And even a state representative has his legislative office on the 2nd floor. In fact, Verges says the building is 75 percent occupied.

“We're actually the only building at the intersection other than Walgreens that is not blighted,” he said.

And one of the few in the neighborhood up and running.
"Such a finding does not mean a demolition permit has been issued for a property,” said James Ross, deputy director of communications. “Rather, it means that at the time of a hearing with Code Enforcement, the property was found not to meet code. In such cases, the property owner must present evidence of rehabilitation to the office of Code Enforcement."

You can watch the WWLTV report here.

Unfortunately, there's nothing unusual about the Nagin administration citing the wrong building and approving it for demolition. Hell, the city's been knocking down the wrong houses for over a year now. The weird thing about this building being cited, other than the fact that it houses a state representative's office, is that it's owned by a NOAH contractor. You remember NOAH don't you? It was in the news during that brief moment when the mayor was questioned about something other than his tendency to make an ass of himself.

Just to be clear, Verges Construction was not one of the contractors accused of anything unsavory in the NOAH investigation. I guess this just demonstrates that mayor is more interested in being able to talk about the number of citations and demolitions permits issued than in citing and demolishing the right properties. Still, if that building can be cited and judged blighted without its owner knowing about the administrative hearing...

Unbelievable story. What kind of joke government runs this place? I can't believe we keep paying for this.

But W.T. Verges may not have been a paid NOAH contractor. His company was listed on the original ten from the Mayor's press release but not on any later supporting documents obtained via public records request.

My best account of the contractors used by NOAH is
It is because we have a Code Enforcement program which is just as out of control as our demolition program. There was a meeting scheduled at the Housing and Human Needs to discuss on Monday.
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