Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Update From Lawrence House Hearing

photo courtesy of Lorraine Swanson
Here's an update from a reader who was at court today regarding Lawrence House's ownership and receivership issues.  There's some potentially very good news:

"Summary from the hearing (only 2 local residents made it fairly early in the proceedings, as the case was moved down the hall to courtroom 1107, but other people arrived later on):

The existing receiver was appointed through the foreclosure case that was pending against the property.  This case has been withdrawn, as there is a pending short sale scheduled for July 9 (though expected to move to the 16th).  Because the case was withdrawn, the receiver’s position is ended as well.

Rather than turn the property back over to the full management of the current owners, the city petitioned for the judge to appoint a limited receiver (not full control, but control over designated aspects) with authority over:
  • Utilities (Com Ed will not connect for anyone representing the current owners without full money owed, others probably on same page), 
  • scavenging (trash pickup), and 
  • canopy (the scaffolding protecting the sidewalk from falling masonry).  
All other operational aspects would revert to the (new – not the previous) management company appointed by the current owners.  When asked, the city representative confirmed that security was NOT included in the requested scope, and would not be. The new management firm is Anchor Realty Group (John Munson was attending).
Other groups in attendance were: owners of the easement for the cell towers on top (no real issues), a representative of the residents association, a representative of the prospective buyers, representatives of the (previously foreclosing) bank, and the receiver proposed by the city (from Community Investment Corporation).

In the hearing in front of the judge, the judge questioned the city on the most recent inspections (on June 5) regarding in specific the emergency systems.  Per the city attorney, one stairwell had non-functional emergency lighting, as well as the basement.  Per the judge’s direction, in addition to the scope for the limited receiver requested by the city, the receiver will also have authority to spend up to $5K on safety and emergency systems. 

The judge also requested that the city attempt to have another inspection prior to the next hearing and produce a list of all outstanding inspection issues with a specific focus on safety items so that the buyer has a full understanding of the needed work on the premises.  The building (of 400 units) is currently occupied by approximately 208 residents.

The next hearing is scheduled for July 23 at 11am in 1107, at which time it is anticipated that there will be new owners, the city will provide a list of issues and violations, and a process for addressing them by the new ownership will be presented and discussed with the court."

Ald. Cappleman showed up late in the hearing, presumably due to the change in courtroom, and conferred with the city attorney afterward.

1 comment: