Tagged: Housing Authority of Baltimore City

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?

 

 

Housing Authority Blight: 1150 Argyle Avenue

Property Address: 1150 Argyle Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217

Property Owner: Housing Authority of Baltimore City, 417 E Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

City Council District and Contact: District 11, Eric T. Costello

State Senator (District 40): Catherine E. Pugh

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

1150 Argyle Avenue
1150 Argyle Avenue

A City-Owned Duo of Blight: 4224 and 4226 Park Heights Avenue

Property Address:  4224 and 4226 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215

Property Owner (4224):  Mayor and City Council, 417 E Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

Property Owner (4226):  Housing Authority of Baltimore City, 417 E Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

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

State Senator:  Catherine Pugh

State Delegates:  Barbara RobinsonShawn TarrantFrank Conaway, Jr.

4224 and 4226 Park Heights Avenue
4224 and 4226 Park Heights Avenue

 

1611 Gorsuch Avenue

Property Address:  1611 Gorsuch Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21218

Property Owner:  Dan B. Lane, PO Box 4639, Silver Spring, MD 20914/1221 Devere Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20903

City Council District and Contact:  District 14, Mary Pat Clarke

State Senator: Nathaniel McFadden

State Delegates: Talmadge Branch, Cheryl Glenn, Hattie Harrison

1611 Gorsuch Avenue
1611 Gorsuch Avenue

A Duo of Blight: 1542 and 1544 Carswell Street

Property Address:  1542 Carswell Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Property Owner:  Jentry McDonald, Inc. PO Box 32118, Baltimore, MD 21282 (This is a PO Box often used by Stanley Rochkind — the property was sold in 2000 to Jentry McDonald by one of Stanley’s shell LLCs.)

Registered Agent for Jentry McDonald, Inc.: Cassandra E. McDonald, 7107 Upper Mills Circle, 21228

It’s interesting to note that Jentry McDonald, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization — and they own blighted real estate?

Property Address:  1544 Carswell Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Property Owner:  Shaun Diggs and Se’Elfis Murdaugh, 4419 3rd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011

City Council District and Contact:  District 14, Mary Pat Clarke

State Senator: Nathaniel McFadden

State Delegates: Talmadge Branch, Cheryl Glenn, Hattie Harrison

1542 and 1544 Carswell Street
1542 and 1544 Carswell Street

 

1601 Carswell Street

Property Address:  1601 Carswell Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Property Owner:  Glenford Foy, II, 216 Chimney Oak Drive, Joppa, MD 21085

City Council District and Contact:  District 14, Mary Pat Clarke

State Senator: Nathaniel McFadden

State Delegates: Talmadge Branch, Cheryl Glenn, Hattie Harrison

1601 Carswell Street
1601 Carswell Street

City-Owned Blight: 1528 Homestead Street

Property Address:  1528 Homestead Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Property Owner:  Housing Authority of Baltimore City, 417 E Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

City Council District and Contact:  District 14, Mary Pat Clarke

State Senator: Nathaniel McFadden

State Delegates: Talmadge Branch, Cheryl Glenn, Hattie Harrison

1528 Homestead Street
1528 Homestead Street
Closeup of second-floor window, falling out of the frame, hole in roof, peeling paint.
Closeup of second-floor window falling out of the frame, hole in roof, peeling paint.

City-Owned Blight: 2302 and 2304 E North Avenue

Property Address:  2302 and 2304 E North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21213

Property Owner:  Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) PO Box 1917, Baltimore, MD 21203

City Council District and Contact:  District 12, Carl Stokes

2302 and 2304 E North Avenue

City-Owned Blight: 2034 N Calvert Street

Property Address:  2034 N Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21218

Property Owner:  Housing Authority of Baltimore City, 417 E Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

City Council District and Contact: District 12, Carl Stokes

2034 N Calvert Street