Tagged: John Reid

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?

 

 

Another Reason to Close the Tax Sale Loophole: 1928 Ramsay Street

Property Address: 1928 Ramsay Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner: Mondrea D Jacobs, 3626 Pear Tree Court, Apt. 42, Silver Spring, MD 20906

Property tax lien was purchased by ETS Maryland, who then filed for foreclosure in 2010. Deed/ownership information was never changed, due to the ability of tax lien purchasers to walk away from their obligation to maintain or refurbish the property.

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

State Senator: Catherine E Pugh

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

1928 Ramsay Street
1928 Ramsay Street

 

 

Collapsed Vacant Kills Man in Parked Car

WBAL and other news outlets are reporting that a vacant home collapsed on top of a parked car earlier today in the 900 block of N Payson Street. The man who was in the car was died after being pulled out, according to WBAL.

The house, 900 N Payson Street, is listed as being owned by a Eugene D. Boykins of the same address. However, Mr. Boykins died in 1999. Two shell companies used by disbarred attorneys John Reiff, Anthony DeLaurentis, and John Reid purchased the tax lien on the property, and a judgement foreclosing right of redemption was issued in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on February 6, 2013.

Despite being disbarred for illegally rigging bids at municipal property auctions, the attorneys are still able to purchase property through the city’s Vacants to Value, and through city tax sales.

900 N Payson Street, before it collapsed
900 N Payson Street, before it collapsed
900 N Payson Street, side view
900 N Payson Street, side view

Of course the home could have been sold since the attorneys took possession, but when deeds are not properly recorded, not only do the state and city lose the recording fees and transfer taxes, owners of blighted property are able to remain in the shadows and therefore escape any accountability when things go wrong with their properties.

Update: In case you don’t read the comments under each blog post, John Reiff and Anthony Delaurentis were both reinstated to the Maryland Bar by the Court of Appeals on March 25 of this year.

2226 Presstman Street

Yet another tax sale foreclosure that has not been properly recorded by the foreclosing party.

Property Address: 2226 Presstman Street, Baltimore, MD 21216

Property Owner (via foreclosure): 2009 DRR-ETS, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224

Registered Agent for 2009 DRR-ETS, LLC: Anthony J Delaurentis, same address.

City Council District and Contact:  District 7, Nick Mosby

State Senator:  Catherine Pugh

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

2226 Presstman Street
2226 Presstman Street

 

 

334 S Calhoun Street

More blight owned by Delaurentis, Reiff and Reid.

Property Address:  334 S Calhoun Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner:  2008 DRR-ETS, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21224

Resident Agent for 2008 DRR-ETS, LLC:  Anthony J Delaurentis, 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

334 S Calhoun Street
334 S Calhoun Street

BCFD Was Here: 1523 Hazel Street

Property Address: 1523 Hazel Street, Baltimore, MD 21226

Property Owner: ETS Maryland, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, #300, Baltimore, MD 21224 (charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing)

ETS Maryland is one of the tax-sale foreclosure bidders that was controlled by former attorneys Anthony DeLaurentis, John Reiff, and John Reid before they were caught bid-rigging at municipal auctions and disbarred as a result. We’ve detailed their property purchases and noncompliance with the law several times. An order foreclosing the right of redemption on this property was issued in 2011 (Circuit Court case 24C10001905). In the four years since, nothing has been done to it, and no permits are on file. The city fire department has declared the house too unsafe for firefighters to enter, and have placed a red X placard on the front.

City Council District and Contact:  District 10, Ed Reisinger

State Senator (District 46): William C. Ferguson IV

State Delegates (District 46): Luke H. Clippinger, Peter A. Hammen, Brooke E. Lierman

1523 Hazel Street
1523 Hazel Street

 

Interesting Items from the 2015 Baltimore Tax Sale List

Every year the city auctions off property (both lots and structures) when the property owner fails to pay municipal fees, like water bills and property taxes. Many of these parcels are owned by people who have no idea what to do, in order to save their homes. There is help available, for those who need it.

However, it’s always interesting to see how many investor-owned properties, many of which are blighted vacants, end up on the tax sale list. The 2015 list contains a total of 28,857 properties. The liens range from a low of $250 to a high of $1,814,710. Of these properties, 3,743 are owned by LLCs, many of them forfeited (The most notable LLC name has to be Bump Bump Wump of Gump, LLC. Catchy…but forfeited, and they owe $16,128 on a house on Springdale Avenue. Another chunk of properties are owned by corporations, trusts, and other entities — add those to the LLCs and it makes up about a quarter to one third of the list overall.

The usual suspects are on the list, too:  Holabird Investments, CE Realty (27 properties), Stanley Rochkind through his various shell companies (65 properties with liens on them), John Reiff, Anthony Delaurentis and John Reid — under their various shell companies, they have over 70 properties listed. Various Skyline entities own 176 properties on the list, and Rex Frost has a mere six. The Mayor and City Council are on the hook for 18 properties, one of which has a lien on it for over $104,000 — 2103 Hollins Street, which is a blighted vacant probably not worth much more than $5000.

Seeing all of these properties on the list gives me hope that perhaps they’ll be purchased by someone who will fix them up and do good things with them. I think two thirds of my neighborhood is on the list — at least half. Just one more piece of the fallout from the mortgage bust, and what happens when predatory buyers swoop in and purchase properties with the hopes of getting rich quick.

Here’s the full list, for those who might be interested in becoming responsible property owners. Good luck, and best of luck to those who are trying to save their homes — make sure you avail yourself of the workshops offering legal help — the first one is this coming Saturday!

1934 W Fairmount Avenue

Property Address:  1934 W Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner:  2008 DRR-ETS, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224

Resident Agent for 2008 DRR-ETS, LLC: Anthony J Delaurentis, Delaurentis, Reiff and Reid, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21224

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

State Senator:  Verna Jones Rodwell

State Delegates:  Keith HaynesKeiffer Mitchell JrMelvin Stukes

1934 W Fairmount Avenue
1934 W Fairmount Avenue

 

More Bad Deed Transfer Data: 1904 W Fairmount Avenue

Property Address:  1904 W Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner:  ETS Maryland, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue #300, Baltimore, MD 21224 (Charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing)

This is another property ETS Maryland, LLC foreclosed on and was granted ownership of the property in 2010 — yet the ownership information has never changed.  We detailed the issue of these owners not transferring deeds after foreclosure in this post.

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

State Senator:  Verna Jones Rodwell

State Delegates:  Keith HaynesKeiffer Mitchell JrMelvin Stukes

1904 W Fairmount Avenue -- note the red x placed by BCFD to indicate the home is not safe to enter.
1904 W Fairmount Avenue — note the red x placed by BCFD to indicate the home is not safe to enter.

 

A Block of Blight on N Payson Street

Property Address:  13, 15, 19, 21, and 23 N Payson Street, Baltimore, MD 21223

Property Owner (13):  Yet another instance where ETS Maryland, LLC (a forfeited company not in good standing) did not transfer the deed after being awarded the property in a tax sale foreclosure. See linked post for info on the company.

Property Owner (15): Maggie and Floyd Doles, same address

Property Owner (19):  Add Home Solutions, LLC, 663 San Gabriel Road, Lusby, MD 20657

Registered Agent for Add Home Solutions, LLC:  CSC-Lawyers Incorporating Service, 7 St. Paul Street, #1600, Baltimore, MD 21202 (Company charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing.)

Property Owner (21):  See ownership information for 13 Payson Street, above.  Again, the owner, ETS-Maryland LLC did not file a deed transfer after gaining ownership of the property, as required by law.

Property Owner (23):  Eric C. Partman, same address

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

State Senator:  Verna Jones Rodwell

State Delegates:  Keith HaynesKeiffer Mitchell JrMelvin Stukes

15 and 13 N Payson Street
15 and 13 N Payson Street
23, 21, and 19 N Payson Street
23, 21, and 19 N Payson Street