Tagged: Bud Runkles

Baltimore’s Worst Slumlord Speculators

Many cities, including San Francisco and New York have come up with lists of the worst landlords or property investors over the years, and the advocacy groups have gone after them in a big way. In Baltimore…not so much. The Community Law Center sued a slumlord once, but that’s been about the extent of the public consequences for Baltimore’s various property investors who have left properties to decay — some of them for decades.

The Top Five

Stanley Rochkind and Bud Runkles (tied, since they work together under various LLC shell companies.)
Between the lead paint lawsuits, vacant derelict properties, and a complete refusal to acknowledge their misdeeds, these two take the cake, especially Mr. Rochkind, who’s been in the slumlording business since at least the early 1980s.

John Reiff, along with his partners Anthony Delaurentis, and John Reid.
Mr. Reiff is the largest individual purchaser of homes at City tax sales (as of 2016), was disbarred for a time (along with Mr. Delaurentis and Mr. Reid) for bid-rigging at municipal auctions in Baltimore, and continues to purchase more vacant homes, despite owning dozens across the city. In fact, these three are the reason why Baltimore City needs to close its tax sale loophole and ban them from future auctions.

Scott Wizig
Mr. Wizig, even after being sued by the Community Law Center for his blight, is still the owner of multiple blighted vacants in Baltimore. He came to Baltimore after being tossed out of New York by the Attorney General there — perhaps that should have been a warning to Baltimore’s government that he was bad news.

Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City
Yes, even the city can be a slumlord. Because of the number of blighted vacant homes, and most importantly — because of our city government’s refusal to enact anti-slumlord policies, they’ve easily earned a place on this list. Another reason for putting them on this list — allowing Paul Graziano, our former housing commissioner, to stay in his job for far too long (or perhaps for hiring him in the first place.)

Housing Authority of Baltimore City
Speaking of Paul Graziano, the Housing Authority isn’t immune from the “slumlord” tag, either, considering the number of blighted homes owned by HABC, the number of children who have been poisoned by lead paint while living in HABC-owned homes, and the housing authority’s refusal to pay its lead paint settlements. Not to mention the condition of our city’s low-income housing projects, the fact that women were sexually assaulted by maintenance men while living in public housing – the list just goes on and on.

Dishonorable Mention

City Homes
You wouldn’t think that an affordable housing nonprofit would be stoop to being a slumlord. However, given the number of lead paint poisoning lawsuits that were filed against their various entities, their subsequent bankruptcy filing (can’t pay settlements if you’re “broke”!), and continue to be filed (as recently as last week) — they need to be on the list. Poisoning children with lead paint is probably the easiest way to be classified as a slumlord. Renter beware.

Baltimore Churches
There’s something particularly troubling about churches that own blighted vacant property. The very idea that a nonprofit organization that doesn’t pay property taxes should also be allowed to further take resources from a community is mind-boggling. Of course not all churches in Baltimore act in this appalling manner, but quite a few do — to the detriment of the surrounding neighborhoods. WWJD, indeed?

 

 

105 N Carrollton Avenue

Property Address: 105 N Carrollton Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner: 400 Business Trust, 5616 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 (A Stanley Rochkind-controlled entity)

Resident Agent for 400 Business Trust: Charles “Bud” Runkles, same address

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator:  Catherine Pugh

State Delegates:  Barbara Robinson, Frank Conaway, Jr., Antonio Hayes

105 N Carrollton Avenue
105 N Carrollton Avenue

 

1931 W Mulberry Street

Another blighted Baltimore vacant that passed through the hands of prolific slumlord and lead paint violator, Stanley Rochkind.

Property Address: 1931 W Mulberry Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner: Lamont Lovejoy, 2829 Merrick Road, Bellmore, NY 11710

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator: Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

State Delegate:  Keith Haynes

1931 W Mulberry Street
1931 W Mulberry Street

 

2100 Penrose Avenue

This is the second property included in the Morwin Properties/UP8 Business trust foreclosure debacle, read the original post here.

Property Address: 2100 Penrose Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner: Morwin Properties, LLC, 901 Stamford Road, Baltimore, MD 21229 (Charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing.)

Resident Agent for Morwin Properties, LLC: Keshawn Moore, same address

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator: Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

State Delegate:  Keith Haynes

2100 Penrose Avenue
2100 Penrose Avenue

 

More Fun With Stanley and Bud: 2958 W North Avenue

Property Address: 2958 W North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216

Property Owner: Morwin Properties, LLC, 901 Stamford Road, Baltimore, MD 21229 (Charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing.)

Resident Agent for Morwin Properties, LLC: Keshawn Moore, same address

City Council District and Contact:  District 7, Nick Mosby

State Senator: Catherine E. Pugh

State Delegates: Frank M. Conaway, Antonio L. Hayes. Barbara A. Robinson

2958 W North Avenue
2958 W North Avenue

This is an interesting case of what happens when a property transaction goes wrong from start to finish.

Keshawn Moore, under his LLC, purchased three properties from three different shell companies (UP8 Business Trust, NB4 Business Trust, and N10 Business Trust) controlled  by Stanley Rochkind and Charles “Bud” Runkles, including the property above. (The other two were 2100 Penrose, and 2731 W North Avenue.) Stanley’s shell companies issued the mortgage for each of the properties (see mortgage 1, mortgage 2, and mortgage 3 — links open PDFs of each mortgage document prepared by Stanley’s attorney, Brian Spern.)

Apparently Mr. Moore didn’t make timely payments on the mortgages, but instead of initiating foreclosure proceedings against him, the shell companies asked for a money judgement. In each case, the remaining balance of the mortgages, plus costs and fees, were awarded to the shell companies. (Circuit Court 24C15005730, 24C15005731, and 24C15005728.)

I suppose that’s one way of disposing of blighted property, but it also leaves Mr. Moore on the hook for the taxes and large monetary judgements, and ties up the properties in court for a period of time so they can’t be moved into receivership or otherwise disposed of. We have to remove barriers to effective property disposal, otherwise neighborhoods like this one will continue their dramatic decline.

1104 W Saratoga Street

Property Address: 1104 W Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner:  400 Business Trust (a Stanley Rochkind-controlled entity), 17 Warren Road, #14B, Cockeysville, MD 21030

Registered Agent for 400 Business Trust:  Charles “Bud” Runkles, same address.

City Council District and Contact:  District 9, “Pistol” Pete Welch

State Senator (District 40): Catherine E. Pugh

State Delegates (District 40): Frank M. Conaway, Antonio L. Hayes. Barbara A. Robinson

This home has been passed a few times through various Rochkind-controlled entities, and continues to deteriorate.

1104 W Saratoga Street
1104 W Saratoga Street

 

3002 W Garrison Avenue

Property Address:  3002 W Garrison Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215

Property Owner: NB3 Business Trust, c/o Charles Runkles, 5616 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 (a Stanley Rochkind-controlled entity)

Registered Agent for NB3 Business Trust: Jack Novograd, same address.

City Council District and Contact:  District 5, Rochelle Rikki Spector

State Senator:  Lisa Gladden

State Delegates:  Jill Carter, Nathaniel Oaks, Samuel Rosenberg

3002 W Garrison Avenue
3002 W Garrison Avenue — Note the broken upstairs window and collapsing porch roof.
3002 W Garrison, rear -- again, note the broken windows upstairs.
3002 W Garrison, rear — again, note the broken windows upstairs.

5348 Maple Avenue

Property Address: 5348 Maple Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215

Property Owner: NB3 Business Trust, c/o Charles Runkles, 5616 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 (a Stanley Rochkind-controlled entity)

Registered Agent for NB3 Business Trust: Jack Novograd, same address.

City Council District and Contact:  District 5, Rochelle Rikki Spector

State Senator:  Lisa Gladden

State Delegates:  Jill Carter, Nathaniel Oaks, Samuel Rosenberg

5348 Maple Avenue -- note the broken 2nd floor windows.
5348 Maple Avenue — note the broken 2nd floor windows.

5304 Maple Avenue

Property Address: 5304 Maple Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215

Property Owner: NB3 Business Trust, c/o Charles Runkles, 5616 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 (a Stanley Rochkind-controlled entity)

Registered Agent for NB3 Business Trust: Jack Novograd, same address.

City Council District and Contact:  District 5, Rochelle Rikki Spector

State Senator:  Lisa Gladden

State Delegates:  Jill Carter, Nathaniel Oaks, Samuel Rosenberg

5304 Maple Avenue -- note the porch roof is close to collapsing.
5304 Maple Avenue — note the porch roof is close to collapsing.

Reader Submitted Blight: 3911 Towanda Avenue

Reader MS writes:  “You can see the orange condemned sign on the porch. Says condemned 2012. It is almost across from the Towanda Rec Center and Creative City Charter. Wish it could get cleaned up with all the kids around.”

I have to agree — I often wonder how much damage is being done to kids who have to go to school, live, and play around so much blight. This home was flipped three times, all between different entities controlled by Stanley Rochkind.

Property Address:  3911 Towanda Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215

Property Owner:  400 Business Trust, 5616 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215

Registered Agent for 400 Business Trust, Charles Runkles, 5616 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215

City Council District and Contact:  District 6, Sharon Green Middleton

State Senator:  Catherine Pugh

State Delegates:  Barbara RobinsonShawn TarrantFrank Conaway, Jr.

3911 Towanda Avenue
3911 Towanda Avenue
3911 Towanda Avenue, side view
3911 Towanda Avenue, side view