Property Address: 106, 108, 110, and 112 N Carrollton Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223
Property Owner (108, 108, and 110): Mayor and City Council, 410 E Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
Property Owner (112): Rent Man, LTD., 408 S Monroe Street, Baltimore, MD 21223 (Company charter has been forfeited.)
Resident Agent for Rent Man, LTD.: Jeb Stuart Fries, 103 Central Avenue, Fredonia, NY 14063
Mr. Fries, who was convicted of armed robbery in 1989 and was subsequently denied a Maryland law license, has been sued multiple times for lead paint and housing code violations, since 1993. The city has also filed multiple foreclosure and receiver lawsuits against his various properties, including 112 N Carrollton Street in May of this year.
Every tax-sale scammer in the city has sued to get possession of this home, yet each time over the years, the case has been dismissed. Interestingly, he owns (or owned) quite a few properties in SW Baltimore, including a bunch of rentals in my own neighborhood of Pigtown. Hopefully most of those are in the hands of owners who will take care of them.
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.
The mortgage holder, Lakeside National, tried to foreclose on this property after the owner stopped paying the mortgage. However, because the foreclosure was never ratified by the court, the responsibility for the property remained with the owner. On the property are two signs that say the property was scheduled for demolition on February 9 of this year (“permits pending”). However, this property was still standing as of April 9 when the photograph was taken.